World Suicide Prevention Day gathering set today in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — The only World Suicide Prevention Day event scheduled online in the state will be at 6 p.m. today in Port Angeles.

The gathering, which aims to spread awareness and encourage conversations about preventing suicide, will be at Veterans Memorial Park, 217 S. Lincoln St.

Participants are encouraged to bring signs, which can range from memorials to loved ones lost to suicide to inspirational messages to anyone struggling to other messages.

Suicides this year in Clallam and Jefferson counties are on track to outpace the number of suicides last year. Though the number of suicides vary each year, Clallam County has seen an upward trend throughout the past 10 years, according to data from the Clallam County Prosecutor’s Office.

Last year saw 23 suicides in Clallam County, according to the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and 11 suicides in Jefferson County.

Brianna Kelly, one of the organizers of today’s rally in Port Angeles, likened the event to a vigil or memorial. She said there will be several speakers, including survivors, people who have lost family members to suicide and first responders.

The gathering is the only event in Washington state that is registered with the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

Kelly, Jessica Guthrie, Reagan Mead, Rick Raymond and others began planning the event last month and were surprised when they learned theirs was the only World Suicide Prevention Day event scheduled in Washington state, Kelly said.

Information on suicide and resource materials will be available at the event.

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