It’s a walk to remember and also a walk to move forward.
Nanaimo’s Soles Remembering Souls event is being held Tuesday, Sept. 10, in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day.
The event includes speeches, a walk at the park, and a closing blessing, and will be “positive and uplifting,” said Lyndsay Wells, community education program coordinator with the Vancouver Island Crisis Society.
She said Soles Remembering Souls is intended “to create awareness of the issue of suicide, and as well, to provide a place for survivors of suicide loss to be able to come and meet other people who have experienced a similar loss and remember those loved ones that have been lost.”
The crisis society notes that people who have post-traumatic stress disorder and others who have experienced a traumatic event are more likely to attempt suicide. The society has invited emergency services workers to attend the walk in uniform to help bring visibility to the cause of suicide prevention.
“We are all a part of suicide prevention and there are so many people in our community who suffer in silence with despair, with PTSD, with traumatic brain injury, with mental health issues and it can be very difficult to get the help that’s out there because a lot of people suffer and struggle in silence,” she said.
The Soles Remembering Souls event has changed a little bit, moving to mid-day on a weekday, and organizers are not asking for footwear donations this year, as was the case in past years. This year the ‘soles’ signify the walk, and the crisis society hopes that at least one person will see the procession and feel the support that it signifies.
“We want anybody who might be in that park that day, or anybody in our community to see that they are not alone and this is a community that’s willing to talk about it,” Wells said.
Soles Remembering Souls takes place Tuesday, Sept. 10, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Maffeo Sutton Park.
For more information, visit www.vicrisis.ca. If you are in crisis, call 1-888-494-3888.