As deaths increase, community walk raises awareness for suicide prevention

It has been six years since Madison Losell began raising awareness about suicide prevention. 

Each year, Losell diligently plans the Suicide Prevention Walk, which begins at the South Williamsport Park Complex and then continues onto the River Walk. Losell also seeks out sponsors for the event, plans the basket raffle and manages the event Facebook page

Suicide is an issue to which Losell is no stranger. At 14 years old, she lost a close friend and struggled with depression – not knowing where to turn for help. While the walk started as a class project, Losell has continued with her mission to not only bring people together but offer resources for people like herself, who didn’t know where to turn. 

Each year the walk has grown, now bringing more than 100 people to the park. The next walk is planned for noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 23. 

SOURCE: Lycoming County Coroner’s Office

While awareness is growing, so too are the suicide numbers in Lycoming County have also increased in recent years. 

According to Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling, 19 people committed suicide in 2021, the youngest being 13 years old. This is an increase from 15 suicides in 2020 and 14 suicides in 2019. However, most recently, the highest year for suicides was 2018 with 25 deaths.  

In the county, similar to national statistics, males are more than two times as likely commit suicide than females, according to the county statistics.  

In Pennsylvania, over 1,600 people committed suicide in 2020 and in the United States nearly 46,000 people commited suicide in 2020. 

National statistics show that white males are at the highest risk of suicide. According to America’s Health Rankings, suicide is the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fourth-leading cause of death among adolescents between 15 and 19 years old. 

Losell is passionate about continueing her work to raise awareness about suicide and provide resources for those struggling with depression. Through the annual walk, she brings the community together to share in her passion. 

If you, or someone you know, is thinking of committing suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. 

Author

  • Anne Reiner has been a journalist for over eight years. She lives in Lycoming County and founded On the PULSE to create a new and engaging way to bring local news to the region of Northcentral, Pennsylvania.

Anne Reiner

Anne Reiner has been a journalist for over eight years. She lives in Lycoming County and founded On the PULSE to create a new and engaging way to bring local news to the region of Northcentral, Pennsylvania.