YES! event to promote suicide awareness, prevention

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Shelly Birkelo
Monday, September 16, 2013

JANESVILLE—Jacqui Palcic never thought she could survive the March 2012 suicide of her 21-year-old son, David Palcic.

But she did, thanks to support from family, friends and a first-time suicide awareness and prevention event last year that was sponsored by Youth Emotional Stability in Rock County.

“It helps you grieve the loved ones gone and find a way to go on with your life. Without this kind of support, I would have never gotten through,” Palcic said.

That's why the 49-year-old Janesville woman encourages others who have been affected by suicide to attend YES! in Rock County's second annual suicide awareness and prevention event from 4 to 7 p.m.  Saturday at the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 1301 Craig Ave.

It will include speakers, a memory walk, food, music, a reading of the names of those lost to suicide, information booths and other resources, said Jessie Benash, event co-chairwoman. 

“It's for anyone that's been affected by suicide,” she said.

 That includes survivors of suicide, family members and those who support the need for suicide awareness and prevention, said Palcic, who is serving on a committee to help  with this year's event. Last year's event attracted 350 people.

YES! in Rock County's goal is to make this an annual event in hopes of educating people about suicide and suicide prevention, to start a support group and to provide needed resources in the community, Benash said.

That's because every 14.2 minutes, someone dies by suicide in the U.S. and nearly 1 million people attempt suicide every year, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,

This year's suicide rate in Rock County is down slightly compared to the same time period last year, Benash learned from Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach.

There were 16 suicides between Jan. 1 and Sept. 13, 2012, compared to 13 suicides during the same period this year, according to Keach.

Last year, those who took their own lives were between the ages of 14 and 77; 12 were male and four female.

Those who committed suicide this year were 21 to 81 years old; of them, 10 were male and three female, Keach said.

Benash wouldn't credit YES! in Rock County with the decrease in the number of suicides but said “it's nice to know we have less laps to walk and less balloons to launch” at next year's Suicide Awareness and Prevention event.

Having the event in Rock County creates awareness, Palcic said.

“We want to get awareness out there so this might prevent people from contemplating suicide, help guide those who know someone struggling with suicide issues so they can help that person get some help and support people who are survivors of suicide,” she said.

That's why Palcic has become an advocate for YES! in Rock County.

“I wanted to take something bad and help make something good out of this and to help others so they don't have to experience what I did.''

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