#BeHereTomorrow: Suicide prevention event set for Saturday in Sturgis

A community event on suicide prevention will be held on Saturday, May 6 at Rouch World (63322 M-66) in Sturgis beginning at 11 a.m. Organized by the United Way and presented by the St. Joseph County Suicide Prevention Task Force, #BeHereTomorrow will feature keynote speaker Kevin Hines along with hayrides, bounce houses, food trucks, and resource tables.

Hines is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, best-selling author of Cracked Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After A Suicide Attempt, and a global public speaker. After surviving an attempt to end his life in 2000 when he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, Hines now travels the world sharing his story of hope, healing, and recovery while teaching all ages the art of wellness, and the ability to survive pain through resilience. According to Hines’ website, many factors contributed to his survival, including a sea lion which kept him afloat until the Coast Guard arrived, and he is one of only 36 to survive the fall from the bridge. 

Mental Health America awarded Hines the Clifford W. Beers Award — their highest honor — for his efforts to improve the lives of and attitudes toward people with mental illness. Hines has also been awarded with the Lifetime Achievement award by the National Council of Behavioral Health, as well as an Achievement Winner by the US Veterans Affairs, and received over 30 U.S. military excellence medals as a civilian. In addition to his work speaking and educating those on the importance of suicide prevention, Hines also has sat on the boards of the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), the Bridge Rail Foundation (BRF), the Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF), and on the Survivors Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The #BeHereTomorrow event on Saturday, May 6 will feature activities for all ages and include events such as face-painting, rides through Rouch World’s Play Land provided by the Middlebury Jeep Club, and a punching arena supplied by the U.S. Army. MaMazzoni’s Italian Beef Truck and Brewhouse BBQ will both be on the scene, as well as a shaved ice truck. 

St. Joseph County United Way Director Kelly Hostetler told Watershed Voice there will be several organizations in attendance with suicide prevention resources such as the Hope and Healing Center, Covered Bridge Healthcare, and Community Mental Health. Hostetler also explained if participants in the event visit each vendor table and receive a checkmark on a registration sheet, those sheets may be turned back in at the registration table to be entered in a drawing. The winner will be able to choose between prizes including a free television supplied by Frank Perez Insurance, a $500 gift card from Meijer, or a dozen mugs donated by Lazer Expressions.

“This event is important so that we can all be better informed about suicide prevention,” Hostetler said. “If you know somebody who might be having suicidal thoughts, or if you yourself are, there will be vendor tables there to help us be informed, and to help guide people through this.”

Rouch World is located at 63322 M-66 in Sturgis, and the event will run from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.