September is National Suicide Prevention month.
Nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control , which is a 30 percent increase since 1999.
In the same year, suicide was the second leading cause of death between the ages of 10-years-old to 34-years-old.
The trend is something that leading suicide prevention advocates want to change.
“The stigma is overwhelming and I just feel like somebody's gotta have a voice, why not me?” Kelli Wolin, a suicide prevention advocate, said.
CGT Kayaks in Bonita Springs is trying to help raise awareness and money for suicide prevention.
Wolin is hosting an event called, Paddle for Prevention, with CGT Kayaks this weekend to contribute to the cause.
“It’s not a comfortable subject to talk about," Wolin said. "It’s not comfortable for anybody. That’s why people avoid it."
Wolin is frustrated that suicide prevention only becomes a prominent cultural topic when a celebrity dies. Wolin wants to encourage people to have more conversations about suicide, where they can express their thoughts.
“It’s bringing this dark subject out into the light and talking about it," Wolin said. "If we don’t, this is just going to continue, and nobody will feel they have a safe space to go."
All of the money from kayak and paddle board rentals on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They’re on the Imperial River in Bonita Springs.
If you or someone you know is struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Crisis Text Line can be contacted by texting TALK to 741741. Both are excellent
mental health service
resources to find help from damaging and dangerous suicidal thoughts or behaviors.