‘You’re not alone:’ Baptist Health Deaconess hosts annual Chalk Walk for suicide prevention

‘You’re not alone:’ Baptist Health Deaconess hosts annual Chalk Walk for suicide prevention
Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 6:45 PM CDT
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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WFIE) - Baptist Health Deaconess staff and members of the community joined forces Friday morning to raise awareness surrounding suicide.

A simple, colorful gesture they host annually to remind people struggling with mental health that they aren’t alone.

“To raise awareness of mental health, and specifically suicide awareness and suicide prevention,” Psychiatrist Reagan Gilley explained. “It’s [Depression] an illness like anything else. This is the place where people want to make sure that awareness is out there.”

Gilley says signs of depression vary from person to person, but most of time, can come in the form of isolation, change in routine, and a change in mood.

“Some folks may not realize until someone points that out, because these can sometimes be gradual processes,” Gilley said.

Every year, the staff at Baptist Health Deaconess adorn the front sidewalk in color, with words of affirmation, looking to reach those in need.

“Someone’s coming in and they’re having a hard day, they’re going in for a test they’re maybe worried about, they’re just coming to see loved ones,” Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Meredith Hyde said. “They can see something positive before they walk inside the hospital.”

Behavioral Health Unit Director Cynthia Dame says it doubles in purpose. The walk serves their patients, and also serves the staff.

“[It’s] For our staff too because some days are hard here, we deal with lots of things that make it hard on them, so this is also positive affirmation for them as well,” Dame said.

A leading cause of death nationwide, officials hope the chalk walk can bring awareness to suicide and hopefully to show those who think there’s no help for them that there’s help available.

“By doing this it really helps as a good reminder that again, people aren’t alone, that this is a common thing that people go through,” Gilley said.

Officials want people struggling to know that it’s not uncommon, there are others struggling too, and they’re ready to help in anyway they can.

“To know that you’re not alone, that there are other people out there struggling everyday, and that we’re here to hopefully make it a better day,” Hyde said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, follow this link to reach our Peace of Mind section, where more resources and information are available.