Large Throng attend Silent Walk

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) in collaboration with the SXM Hiker Gang (SXMHG) organized a silent walk on Saturday September 9, 2022 (World Suicide Prevention Day) to raise awareness for Suicide Prevention on St. Maarten, attracting approximately 40 participants.
The Silent Walk commenced just before the break of dawn with persons gathering at the entrance to Terres Basses. Participants were able to collect their free T-Shirt, branded with the message “Prioritize Your Mind, and a complimentary cup of bush tea. The silent walk, which was spearheaded by Psychologist and Information and Prevention officer, Ms. Emmalexis Velasquez, aimed to expose persons to what it feels like to walk in the shoes of someone experiencing suicidal thoughts.

At the head of the walk, led by SXMHG member, Mr. Miklos Giterson, flash cards featuring a potential conversation between a suicidal person expressing their thoughts and emotions and potential responses by an ally were dispersed along the tail of the group. Participants trekked through the Low Lands area to Plum Beach, during which a participant shared their personal journey with suicide, including triggers and ways others can reach out. Participants were able to ask questions and take a moment to recognize the fragility of mental health and the need to reduce stigma, against the backdrop of a setting full moon.

Prior to the end of the hike, participants were lead to a nearby bat cave and took pictures. The hike ended on schedule at approximately 7:00AM. MHF would like to extend its sincerest gratitude to SXMHG for leading all participants on an exciting route and joining the mission to prevent suicide and reduce mental health stigma. MHF would also like to thank all participants for coming out and being an ally to the cause. Persons who missed the walk are still able to view and share the activity, which has been created into a short video and posted to MHF Facebook page. MHF further encourages all persons to like and follow them on Facebook for more information and events regarding mental health.

The foundation encourages persons to check in on their peers and anyone they may know vulnerable to suicide thoughts or attempts. If you, or anyone you know is struggling with suicide, please call the MHF helpline at 5205556.

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