The Tooele County Health Department will host a sunrise lantern release and 5K run Saturday to raise funds and spread a message of hope in the name of suicide prevention.
The health department recently received a grant that will allow it to assist other local agencies already working to prevent suicide, said Amy Bate, public information officer for the health department.
While there are already many initiatives underway throughout the county, Bate said this Saturday’s activity will be different in that it will try to combat suicide more indirectly by inspiring a feeling of hope in the community.
“This is a positive, uplifting event,” she said. “We don’t want it to be something where people are mourning the loss of loved ones … we want it to look at all the really exciting things starting in our community.”
In addition, Bate said, the event is meant to highlight the growing number of suicide prevention resources available within the community. She said research suggests that if people are able to find help during a crisis, they are much less likely to become suicidal again.
Saturday’s event, in keeping with its Hope is on the Rise theme, will kick off at 5:30 a.m. with a lantern release at Elton Park (400 N. 400 East) in Tooele, followed by a 6:30 a.m. sunrise 5k run. After the 5k, local resident and popular motivational speaker Chad Hymas will share a message of hope — something he offered to do at his own expense, Bate said.
Registration for the 5k is still ongoing and will remain open right up to the start of the race, Bate said. There is a $15 registration fee — $5 will cover the cost of a special hope-themed T-shirt, and $10 will go to fund HOPE Squads in local schools.
HOPE Squads are peer-to-peer outreach programs that consist of specially nominated and trained students who are designated to reach out to peers in crisis.
Interested residents can sign up at Elton Park the morning of the race, or may register online at eventbrite.com.
About 54 participants have already signed up for the early-morning event, Bate said.