PANAMA CITY - Saturday morning, residents from all walks of life took to the Hathaway Bridge - walking to raise awareness about the prevalence of suicide in Florida and Bay County.
"We talk about homicide because that shocks us when it happens and we're all talking about it,” said Tricia Pearce with the Life Management Center, “but in Bay County last year there were 12 homicides but there were 37 deaths by suicide."
With suicide being the 8th ranking killer in the state of Florida, local families are spreading an uplifting message. "We're taking a step to bring awareness and education to the public by walking across the bridge,” said spare co-founder Karen Abraham. “That is our bridge of hope."
For Abraham, the message of spare is especially potent after her own son committed suicide. "Another young life is not going to be lost, another adult is going to find the help they need,” Abraham said. “We’re taking it one step at a time and we're taking it across the bridge to bring awareness to suicide."
Life Management Center officials say that some of the signs to look out for include major lifestyle changes, withdrawing from family and friends and talking about suicide. "people always seem to be surprised when they find out it's that person that's been very successful and very well thought of in the community,” said Pearce, “it doesn't matter. Suicide does not discriminate."
If you or anyone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you're urged to call the life management crisis hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to get in contact with them, call 873-8573.