The ConVal School District encourages the community to participate in a 5K run this weekend to raise money for suicide awareness and prevention.
All proceeds from the “Break the Silence” run on Saturday, April 24, at ConVal Regional High School will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. ConVal sophomores Callie Boisvert and Abbey Shumway organized the run.
“This is an important issue. It needs to be talked about,” Boisvert said. “People of all ages need to be able to cope with mental illness and know that it is okay to reach out and get help. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education, and advocacy. AFSP lists suicide as the eighth leading cause of death in New Hampshire, and the second-leading cause among those aged 10 to 34.
“We want to break the stigma on mental health. Mental illness is serious for all ages,” Shumway said. “As a community we need to raise awareness and ‘break the silence,’ and help people know what to do, how to handle it, and know that people are here for them.”
Boisvert and Shumway have raised almost $1,000 in online donations and invite the community to support the cause by attending on Saturday. Principal Heather McKillop will be among the runners supporting the students and their effort.
Those interested may register from 8-8:30 a.m. for the race that begins at 9 a.m., or register from 11-11:30 a.m. for the race that begins at 12 p.m. A donation of $20 is suggested. Other events include a bake sale, raffle, and a guest speaker who will share their family’s struggle with mental health issues and how they have coped.
“Mental health is a critically important issue in our state and country, one that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said. “I commend Callie and Abbey for raising awareness and ask the ConVal community to support them in this cause.”