Event raises suicide prevention awareness

ESCANABA — A large crowd gathered Saturday morning for the End the Silence, a Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention Walk. The annual event raises funds for the Delta County Suicide Prevention Taskforce and promotes suicide prevention awareness. Although the event is usually held at Ludington Park, this year the location was changed to the Miracle of Life building at the U.P. State Fairgrounds

Several speakers addressed the crowd before the walk. The main speaker was Jennifer Buta, who talked about her experience of losing her son, Jordan DeMay, who took his own life as a result of sextortion 18 months ago. Two men from Nigeria have been charged in connection with his death. They have been extradited to the United States and are currently awaiting trial.

Buta said she received a text from her son before he committed suicide. It said “I love you.” The next day, she learned of his death. She described her close relationship with her son and his caring nature.

“He was the kind of kid that if you dropped your books in the hall, he would pick them up.”

Buta said it is important for people to continue to help each other.

“My mission is to not let this happen to anyone else,” she said. “Talk to your family… Don’t have the misunderstanding that this could not happen to your child.”

Local agencies and organizations were at the event providing educational materials. They included the Delta County Suicide Prevention Task Force, Celebrate Recovery, Communities that Care, Great Lakes Recovery Center, Pathways, Bellin Health, Veterans Affairs, Survivor of Suicide Bereavement Group, Kindness Rocks Delta County, and Victim’s Service Unit.

Over the last 14 years, over $225,000 has been raised to support the Delta County Suicide Prevention Taskforce initiatives. Through funds raised the Delta County Suicide Prevention Taskforce has been able to hire two counselors for Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District, Escanaba Middle, and High Schools students who are at-risk for self-harm along withan ASIST training at Bay College in June to train individuals on how to assist those who are at risk for suicide.


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