MT OLIVET, W.Va. (WTRF) – Mt. Olivet Community Park is more than just a place where the community comes for recreation. It’s home to a veterans monument, a place where people can come to reflect on service to our country. 

Now, there’s a new thought-provoking installation.

356 blue pinwheels represent the 356 West Virginians lost to suicide each year. They come with a simple message; you are NOT alone.

Before we go any further, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention wants everyone out there who may be in crisis to know there is help available. All you have to do is dial 988 and someone will pick up the phone.

I hope they realize they’re not alone and that it doesn’t have to come down to this part of it.

Sarah Hart, Walk Chair, Northern Panhandle Out of the Darkness Walk

In front of the Mt. Olivet Lions Veterans Memorial is now a vivid visual representation of why mental health matters. 

Mental health I think in general has really been amped up now. A lot of people are talking about it. They’re more aware of what leads to suicide. Once you find out what the resources are in the area I think that helps out a lot and also to know that they’re not alone.

Sarah Hart, Walk Chair, Northern Panhandle Out of the Darkness Walk

Hart and the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reached out to the Mt. Olivet Lions Club to place the pinwheels during Suicide Prevention Week. 

It’s a message that resonates with a group passionate about helping the community and our veterans. 

Since this is a veterans’ monument, the Lions Club takes care of the park and it’s a great tie in because every day between 20 and 25 veterans commit suicide.

Paul Amrhein, Mt. Olivet Lions Club

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is also organizing the Northern Panhandle Out of the Darkness Walk in just a few weeks to raise awareness for their mission. 

It’s something that we’re trying to do every single year and this year is a big year, especially since everything has been shut down the last couple of years for COVID.

Sarah Hart, Walk Chair, Northern Panhandle Out of the Darkness Walk

Suicide Prevention Week is September 4 though the 10, but countless people are working to bring hope and help across the Ohio Valley and beyond all year long. 

They want you to know there is help out there. It could be as simple as dialing the 988 hotline or reaching out to a friend. 

The Lions being a community organization. We want people to realize that there’s help out there. For you veterans, if you don’t use the buddy system and call a buddy every once and a while to make sure he’s doing alright, get a buddy and call them.

Paul Amrhein, Mt. Olivet Lions Club

The Northern Panhandle Out of the Darkness Walk will be held on Saturday, September 24 with registration at 10:00 a.m. at Wheeling Park.

Registration is still open. The group is also looking for some help from the community with sponsorships and auction items.

There are also other fundraisers coming up if you’d like to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention next week.

On Tuesday, September 6 they are doing a fundraiser at Chipotle at the Highlands. Just use this flyer to give back.

Next week, people are asked Paint the Town Purple by lighting up their porches with a purple light bulb. It’s $10 for a bulb. E-mail northernpan.ootd@gmail.com or call Sarah at 304-280-0142 to place an order.

Finally, the group will be at Tractor Supply in Glen Dale on September 10 raising awareness for suicide prevention.

For more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention visit afsp.org.