Letters to the Editor: Community makes educator proud

To the Journal editor:

I moved to Marquette County last November to start a new position at the Marquette County Health Department working in suicide prevention. In the nine months that I have been in this position, I have worked in numerous communities across the Upper Peninsula that are passionate about preventing suicide in their community. Specifically within Marquette County, there are remarkable efforts happening in the Ishpeming and Gwinn communities.

Suicide Prevention Action Teams have been formed in both the Ishpeming and Gwinn communities to address suicide in their youth populations while working to resolve gaps in care. These teams are comprised of individuals from various community settings such as the schools, churches and faith-based groups, clinic staff, youth-serving organizations and community members.

In both communities, these teams have identified unique goals they are working towards to raise awareness, provide training and education, and enhance school and workplace prevention and postvention policies. Anyone interested in joining a team in either community can contact Carol Touchinski at ctouchinski@greatlakesrecovery.org.

Another way to get involved with suicide prevention efforts in Marquette County is to attend the annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk. The walk welcomes participation from the community at large to remember those we’ve lost and to offer hope and healing to those who struggle. If you are a loss survivor, an attempt survivor, or an individual who supports suicide prevention in our county, please come and walk with us!

This year’s walk will be held Saturday at Al Quaal in Ishpeming, registration begins at 9 a.m. You can register for the walk at www.afsp.org/MarquetteCounty.

A new project for this year’s walk participants is to create a community scrapbook.

If your life has been touched by suicide, we want to hear your story! Consider sharing a picture, poem or short story to create your unique page for the scrapbook. Scrapbooking supplies will be available at the walk, but feel free to bring whatever supplies you need to tell your story.

The intent is to have the scrapbook present at future walks and to continue to add to it each year. Anyone looking for more information about the community scrapbook or the Out of the Darkness walk can send me an email at epratt@mqtco.org.

Feeling proud to live and work in such a caring community!

EMILY PRATT

Health Educator

Marquette County

Health Department