For the fifth time in as many years, the Walking Through Grief Society’s Walk of Remembrance is coming to Bud Miller All Seasons Park.
“This walk is about a whole community coming out to support each other, to learn what they can about mental illness and about how they can be a part in helping to diminish it,” said Shirley Scott, founder of the Walking Through Grief Society.
The Walk of Remembrance, which takes place on Saturday, Sept. 12, coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10.
Over 800,000 people die from suicide worldwide each year, with mental health issues playing a role in many of those cases.
“Last year, we had people who both spoke up about their losses and also about their own mental health issues, which was really powerful,” said Scott.
“It’s coming, that we’re able to share that with a little less shame and stigma, that they’re embraced by community.”
On Sept. 12, participants will walk through the park with a flower in hand to honour a lost loved one. People without a personal connection to suicide are also encouraged to walk as a show of support.
“Whenever a life is lost to suicide, the ripple effect doesn’t only affect family, it affects the whole community. So we invite community to be part of it and that’s probably not happened in the past as much,” said Scott.
As the walk concludes, participants will have an opportunity to speak about their experiences with mental health issues or a suicidal person. Refreshments and entertainment will be available afterwards.
With this year marking the fifth Walk of Remembrance in Lloydminster, Scott says she’s hoping that the event soon branches out to other nearby areas.
In the past, the Walk of Remembrance has typically seen about 50 participants. Scott says she would like to double that number this year, and that she believes the growing spotlight on mental health makes that mission attainable.
“We want it to be considered regional so that people from other communities can also feel welcome there,” she said. “When people are leaving, I hope that they have a sense of not being alone on this journey, that they were able to connect with other people and share that in supporting each other.”
The Walk of Remembrance begins at 3 p.m. at the picnic shelter in Bud Miller park and finishes around 6 p.m.