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News / Health / Clark County Health

Southwest Washington chapter of National Alliance on Mental Health event tackles suicide, stigma

Shine the Light aims to raise awareness, educate public

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: September 12, 2023, 6:03am

Last year, about 50,000 families across the United States grieved a family member who died by suicide.

To spark a conversation around the current mental health crisis and raise awareness of prevention tools, the Southwest Washington chapter of National Alliance on Mental Health will host its first Shine the Light event. The event will raise awareness and educate the public on suicide and stigma.

“Suicide is a silent epidemic that we have in the country,” said Kim Schneiderman, executive director of NAMI. “Somebody dies from suicide in the United States every 11 minutes — that’s devastating.”

The event will feature a performance from Frank King, a mental health comedian, as well as panels of suicide survivors and loved ones who have lost someone to suicide. The event will also have spaces for people to debrief if needed; two decompression rooms will be set up — one with yoga led by student instructors.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Shine the Light: Suicide Prevention and Awareness Summit

WHEN: 1 p.m. today

WHERE: Clark County YMCA, 11324 N.E. 51st Circle, Vancouver

HOW: Register at https://namiswwa.org/suicide-prevention-awareness-summit/

This is a free event with no registration fees required to attend.

Get help

This story includes discussion of suicide. The national suicide and crisis lifeline is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at 988lifeline.org.

“We’re trying to make this a fun event … make things more comfortable and the conversation easier for people,” Schneiderman said.

Community resources will also be available at the summit, where attendees can learn more about local resources centered around mental health care. Schneiderman hopes the event promotes dialogue within community members around mental health.

“People can do it, they can have the discomfort of asking questions about suicide,” Schneiderman said. “Because of the discomfort of losing somebody that you love is so much greater.”

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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