SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An event next weekend is raising awareness and money for the Helpline Center’s suicide prevention services and support programs. The 8th Annual Step Forward To Prevent Suicide at the Falls Park Farmer’s Market Shelter is also providing local families with a space to remember the loved ones they’ve lost.
When walkers and runners take off this Sunday, they’ll be joined by the event’s honorary speaker Dean Krietlow. Krietlow’s younger brother Jimmy died by suicide 15 years ago.
“I’ve gone through some tough times because of that. Didn’t always take everything well. I’m doing better now. Have a lot of really good days and am able to cope with what’s going on,” Krietlow said.
Krietlow says Step Forward To Prevent Suicide, which includes a 1.5 mile walk and a 5K run, is a safe gathering place for families in mourning. He’s taken advantage of the Helpline Center’s resources to get on solid ground.
“From that point, it really did make things better. Taught me how to talk, that emotions were a good thing,” Krietlow said.
Helpline Center Events Coordinator Janet Harvey says the organization has a number of programs available to help anyone who needs it.
Last year’s event was attended by more than 1,200 people and it raised more than $62,000. That all stays right here.
“It is a big problem. We’ve had a lot of loss to suicide in 2019. We had a lot in 2018. We need to get some awareness out there. We need to let people know that the Helpline Center is there 24/7 every single day. We are there to talk,” Harvey said.
A good first step forward, start a conversation.
“Just come visit to talk with people. The talking really seems to be the best thing we can do,” Krietlow said.
The event takes place this Sunday morning. You do need to register but there is no fee. Check-in begins at 8:30 with the walk and run beginning at 9. A remembrance ceremony will follow. If you’d like to call the Helpline Center, its number is 211. If you are calling and need to speak to someone regarding suicide or having struggling suicidal thoughts you can call the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline # of 1-800-273-8255.