September is Suicide Prevention Month, and an event in Hanceville this Saturday is aiming to spread awareness with guest speakers, worship and live music.
The event will be taking place from 6-9 p.m. at Arise Coffee, located at 113 Commercial Street in Hanceville, and will feature music from local gospel band Gènesis as the evening’s headlining performance.
Along with the band’s performance, Gènesis member and Cook Ministries founder Karen Cook Heaton said she will be speaking at the event information about suicide awareness and Wellstone Substance Abuse and Prevention Coordinator Tommie Sanders will be speaking about suicide prevention.
She said there will also be booths that offer information and statistics about suicide in the community, as well as a booth for Wellstone’s Heads Up Prevention program, which bring awareness about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
Redemption Church Youth will also be present at the event for face painting for the children who come out to the event, which will be family friendly and offer important information to help families become more aware of suicides among children and offer ways to prevent it, Heaton said.
“There’s an issue, I believe, in society with children who are being bullied and are hurting, and they need help just as much as some of the adults that are out there,” she said. “It’s family oriented, and it’s about helping others no matter what their age is.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one person dies by suicide every 11 hours in Alabama and suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for residents of the state. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 10-34, and the fourth leading cause of death for ages 35-44.
The venue for the evening also has a connection to mental health awareness in the area, as Arise Coffee Co.’s owner Leah McCollins is a licensed counselor herself, and she and her husband Ace are always looking to give back to their community, Heaton said.
“They’re just really great people to work with, and she has a heart for helping others,” she said.
Heaton said she founded Cook Ministries after the death of her brother, Johnny, and everything the ministry does originates from his memory. As part of that mission, Cook Ministries hosts a suicide awareness event every September in recognition of Suicide Prevention Month, she said.
Gènesis had already been scheduled to perform at Arise earlier this year, but COVID-19 caused the performance’s cancellation, so when Gènesis rescheduled for September, they decided to fold their concert into a suicide prevention event to help bring more people in, Heaton said.
“It’s just something we want to get the community wrapped up in,” she said.
Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238.