The 13th annual Suicide Awareness Walk will take place Saturday, Oct. 9, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Carlton High School.

About 150-200 community members gather in memory of loved ones lost to or touched by suicide and to raise awareness towards prevention, according to a news release from Carlton County's Public Health and Human Services Office.

"We are aware that Carlton County and many other counties in Northern Minnesota have some of the highest rates of suicide in the state," said Meghann Levitt, public health educator for Carlton County, in the news release. "This event allows family and friends who have been impacted by suicide to remember those they have lost, as well as connect with others who have had a similar experience. It is also important for us to provide resources to attendees to pass along to others they know who might be struggling."

Jo Angell, a mother who lost her son to suicide, has been involved with the Carlton County Suicide Prevention Task Force since its beginning. She said the annual walk has helped her find support, as well as empowerment through the awareness it raises.

"This walk has been an important focus and connection for me," she said in the news release. "It has been very helpful to have a special day where people come together, supporting each other and walking in remembrance of our loved ones; publicly stating the seriousness of suicide. We're all there for the same reason."

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This year's event will feature a 20-minute, non-competitive walk, followed by light refreshments and a short message of hope from Jessica Laney. An investigator with the Carlton County Sheriff's Office, Laney has lost two co-workers to suicide. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

The event is not a fundraiser. However, participants are welcome to wear something with the name and/or picture of the person they are honoring, though it is not required.

Participants will also have the opportunity to tie a ribbon to the banner that will be carried on the walk in memory of the person they are honoring.

Information on suicide awareness and education will be available, the news release said.

Masks will be required indoors regardless of vaccination status, and social distancing will be encouraged throughout the event.

The event is organized by members of the Carlton County Suicide Prevention Task Force. The task force meets quarterly to plan outreach for suicide prevention, awareness and education in Carlton County.