Williston Cross Country does 12-minute run for suicide prevention

WILLISTON, N.D. - September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Williston’s cross country team and a local coffee shop are working together to destigmatize suicide.

Escorted by police, the Williston Cross Country team ran through town for 12 minutes to represent how often a life is taken by suicide in America. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says adolescents often don’t seek treatment, so at the end of the run, the cross country team gathered at Deja Brew to hear from Miss North Dakota on how to reach out to others. They were also treated to a drink for being brave enough to stand up for something a lot of people have a hard time talking about.

“Suicide is a stigmatized topic, so the goal is to de-stigmatize outreach like we’re doing today. And to let people know that there is hope and it is okay to ask for help, and it is okay to ask somebody else if they’re okay. So, we feel like by doing that the hope is that we decrease the suicide rate,” said Katie Shannon, licensed clinical social worker.

The AFPS says it’s the second leading cause of death in adolescents, and it’s risen 47% in the last 20 years. Thursday, Deja Brew is gave a percentage of their proceeds to the AFSP as part of their Not Today event. Customers are writing words of affirmation on papers, and baristas will hand them out with drinks for the rest of the month.

Shannon says there are five steps you can take if you think someone is struggling with depression or suicide: ask, keep them safe, be there, help them connect, and follow-up.

For more information, go to afsp.org/find-support.