Suicide Prevention ‘Stride to Save Lives’ 5K Walk/Run set September 21

OSWEGO, NY – Suicide is a national public health crisis. It is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 34-year-olds and the third leading cause of death for 35- to 44-year-olds.

A local organization, SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education – is planing a couple of events in hopes of lowering those statistics and raising awareness

Runners and walkers, including suicide survivors (those who have lost someone to suicide) and mental health advocates, will gather to raise awareness for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention as they participate in the Suicide Prevention “Stride to Save Lives.”

Proceeds raised will benefit SAVE.

“Sixteen years ago, I lost my brother to suicide. For the past four years, I have been working with a close group of others that have lost someone to suicide to plan a community walk to raise awareness,” Jamie Leszcyznski told Oswego County Today. “Last year alone, we had 500 people participate. This year we are adding a run component to it and we’re hoping to draw in even more people.”

Oswego County will be hosting the September 21 event at the SUNY Oswego campus (Hewitt Union quad), she added.

Registration for the 3.1-mile walk will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The run kicks off at 10:30 a.m. and the walk will start at 11:30 a.m.

The event is open to anyone who would like to participate.

Light food and refreshments will be available starting at 11:30 p.m.

Plenty of free parking is available with rest along the route.

Participants are invited to raise funds for their efforts, with each participant receiving a free T-shirt at the $50 fundraising level.

To register or to support this event, visit:

Award-Winning International Speaker To Address Mental Health

“In addition to the run/walk on Set. 21, we are also holding a community event on Sept. 20 to somewhat kick off our event. We have an award-winning international speaker on mental health coming to town to talk about his experiences,” Leszcyznski  said. “He jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Halfway down, he realized he didn’t want to die and miraculously he survived and now is prepared to share his story!”

Kevin Hines will be the keynote speaker for the “Stride to Save Lives” community 5K Run/Walk.

Click here to learn more about Kevin Hines’ visit

The previous day (Sept. 20), the speaker, author and mental health advocate will be presenting at First United Methodist Church of Fulton.

He will speak to the community about his experiences with mental illness and his survival from an attempted suicide.

The event is free and open to the public.

Hines has reached international audiences with his story of an unlikely survival and will to live.

When he was 19, two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he attempted to take his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He is one of 33 to survive the fall and he is also the only survivor who is actively spreading the message of living mentally healthy around the country and the globe.

Hines has become an award-winning international speaker, author and mental health advocate.

In 2012, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding work as a suicide prevention advocate and speaker.

He has also been recognized by SAMSHA as a Voice Awards Fellow and Award Winner, an Achievement Winner by Veterans Affairs and he has received a Three Star Marine Generals Medal Award in addition to his numerous accolades.

His will to live and stay mentally well has inspired hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

His compelling story has touched diverse audiences on university campuses, organizations, corporations, clergy, military, clinicians, the medical community, community organizations and international conferences.

Cracked, Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt is his first book and was to be released on July 16 of this year.

According to Leszcyznski, in New York in 2010 (latest data available from the CDC) the rate was 8.0/100,000 and they were 50th in the nation (lowest) because their population is so high.

The national average rate was 12.4/100,000.

Other suicide statistics include:

· New York loses about 1,300 people per year to suicide.

· About one in every 10 youth have suicidal ideation.

· Suicide exceeds the homicide rate in New York by about 30% each year.

· Suicide in New York is the third leading cause of death among those aged 15-24; fourth for those aged 10-14; fifth for those aged 25-34; sixth for those aged 35-44; and ninth for those aged 45-54 (CDC, 2001).

SAVE works to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and serves as a resource to those touched by suicide.

To learn more about SAVE, visit or call 952-946-7998.

If someone is known to be suicidal, he or she must not be left alone. Proximity is the first line of defense, health care officials say.

In an emergency situation, call 911 for assistance. Preventing a suicide often takes the assistance of emergency responders.

If you need advice or more information on suicide prevention, contact the Oswego County Mental Hygiene Division at 963-5361 or the Oswego Hospital Mental Health 24-hour hotline at 343-8163.

Also, a crisis hotline is available 24 hours through the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you have additional questions about the event, please contact Leszcyznski at [email protected]