suicide prevention walk

Sixty-one people gathered at the 2018 SALT walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

Save a Life Today (SALT) will hold its annual suicide prevention walk Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Carthage Junior High School track. Registration starts at 8 a.m., with the walk beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The walk is to raise awareness and bring hope, founder and chairperson Diana Bonds said.

“In Texas right now, there’s still a suicide every two hours,” Bonds said. “National average is every 12 minutes. So it’s good to be below average at this point with these statistics, but it’s like, times are really dramatic and almost corrosive right now on people, so once again, we want to give people hope. We want to make them aware. We want to educate them.

“If you think something’s going on with somebody, this is what you look for,” Bonds said. “There’s actually signs and things that you can look for along the way. Activity always helps, so that’s why we do the walks, it’s something very active. Give people hope again.”

Bonds stressed that the walk Saturday morning is meant to be just that — a walk.

“This is not a run,” Bonds said. “I only run if something really big is chasing me. This is not a run, and I don’t care if people come and sit in a lawn chair and visit. It doesn’t matter to me. We just want to know we’re there for each other.”

Before the walk, Bonds said there will be an opportunity for any of the attendees to talk.

“We’re gonna open it up for a few minutes for anybody who has been through this and has found a way to turn a terrible tragedy into a positive and just let people that are there come to share their stories,” she said. “Which is what we’re kind of all about anyway... My little sister took her life, and I got back here and I’m like ‘No, we gotta do something.’ So I’m just one story. Like how many people have a story? Everybody’s just in a different stage of their story, that’s all.”

Bonds said the walk helps bring people together.

“It’s a support group,” she said. “It’s like, you think sometimes when you go through things — and not just suicide, but so many things — you think that you’re totally alone, you know? And all of a sudden you look around and you’re like, oh my gosh, there’s somebody that just went through this, maybe I can help them. There’s somebody that has been through this a long time ago, or more than once. We’ve got people that walk that have actually tried to take their life. I mean they’re a wealth of information. So I think it helps the community by first of all, bringing light to everything, and then showing support.”

For Bonds, the walk is personal.

“To me it means that my little sister will never be forgotten,” she said. “That something horrible that happened to our family has turned out to actually be able to help people. And so that’s why I still walk.”