Walk held at Beach Park to bring awareness to suicides

Felicity Tomisaka, Reporter

The first annual Stomp Out Suicide Walk was held at Beach Park on Sept. 12 from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

Ellen Eggert, board member of the Save A Life Today organization, wanted to bring awareness to everyone about the seriousness of suicide, whether it’s a close friend or family member. Having lost two brothers to suicide, Eggert wanted to get involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

She believes that no one takes it seriously and she doesn’t want anyone to go through losing someone to suicide like she did. Eggert hopes this event will continue to be a success in the future.

At the event, several resources were available such as The Bakersfield American Indian Project, CSUB’s Counseling Training Clinic, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Kern County Mental Health Department.

Sunny Mueller, specialist for The Kern County Mental Health Department, handles the Kern County Mental Health Hotline and the volunteer hotline program where they train volunteers in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) to prepare them to recognize and provide interventions to individuals with suicidal intentions.

“We handle 2,000 calls a month on average and get 22,000 to 24,000 calls a year,” Mueller stated. “Fifteen percent to 20% of those crisis calls are immediately suicidal.”

Mueller said that the most challenging call was about someone who had cut a wrist in an alleyway and didn’t know where they were.

“Not only did I have to calm them down,” he said, “but I also had to pinpoint their location for medical attention.”

There were 300 people in attendance and they raised over $11,000 through the raffles, bracelets, and T-shirt sales.