After Melissa Kurtenbach lost her sister to suicide, she founded Beacon for Hope Suicide Prevention. The Hope Links Us Together Suicide Prevention Walk took place last Saturday in the Clinton Boyer building.
“Having an event, an organization that is open and non-judgmental where you can go, you know you’re going to get help and directed to the help you need,” Kurtenbach said. “I think is critical for our community and any community to really start empowering themselves. If I can reach out for help, help is there and I can start feeling better.”
Kurtenbach founded the non-profit in 2017 with the intent of offering those struggling with the loss of a loved one, or of suicidal thoughts, a supportive community.
Attendees could participate in the walk, raffles, face painting and could even learn about several resources in the community. Color Street, SOS, and Flint Hills Community Health Center were present to name a few.
“We want to be able to give back to the community, make sure our community is healthy as well,” said Brandon Stiner, marketing manager for Flint Hills Community Health Center. “It helps our future generations that will be our leaders, our school teachers, so we need to help them where they are at the moment.”
Hornets for Hope, an on-campus organization dedicated to offering resources and ending the stigma against mental health, was also present.
“You’re not putting an idea into someone’s head by talking about it,” said Eli Wright, president of Hornets for Hope and senior photography and art education major. “You’re addressing something that they’ve already thought about, helping them think through it, talk about it, get a release that they need to help them get to a better place.”
Students that are struggling can reach out to the Student Wellness Center. Students can make an appointment by calling 620-341-5222 or stop by the office, which is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to emporia.edu.