Bob Feliciano: Suicide Awareness Walk
Monday was World Suicide Prevention Day, this week is National Suicide Prevention Week and last year Arizona Governor Ducey proclaimed September as “Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.”
Suicide in our nation has become the 10th leading killer of our citizens and the numbers continue to clime. In Arizona there were 1,300-plus suicides last year yet only 156 homicides. The numbers are horrific, when I lost my son Sean to suicide in 2009 there were 34,000 suicides at last count the number has grown to 44,000 per year. Suicide is the number two killer of our young people ages 14 to 24. It is the number two killer of our college students; number one killer of our first responders; and our vets take their lives at over 8,000 each year.
The numbers are disturbing to say the least, out of 15 counties in Arizona, Mohave County is the 2nd leading county for suicides per-capita.
After 40 years of visiting Lake Havasu City, and a property owner for 15 years, my wife and I retired and moved into our home full time June of 2016.
Shortly there after while reading Today’s News Herald I discovered we have a suicide problem in our city. After conducting an investigation I came in contact with Havasu’s School Districts Psychologist Doug Pehling and from our discussions we formed a new organization called, “#YOUmatter;” The group included members of our school district, Hospices of Havasu, and the last component was becoming a member of the Havasu Community Health Foundation.
Our goal was to create awareness, through discussions and ultimately save lives.
Last year we held our first #YOUmatter; 5K Walk at Rotary park where 300 folks participated. We are hosting our 2nd walk on Saturday, September 15th at Rotary Park and were hoping to have more community members in attendance.
As a dad who lost his son to suicide who I called my gift from God I have learned to live with my loss. I know his death must have greater meaning to me so I spend each day of my life working on how I can help save others from suffering from such a loss.
I hope to see a great showing at our walk, come out and help us spread the word that together we can save lives.
Lake Havasu City