Mullica Hill marks a week of suicide awareness

Events will include honoring three township men who took their own lives

Mayor Louis Manzo and the Harrison Township Committee have announced that the week of Sunday, Sept. 10 through 16 will mark Wings of Life Harrison Strong Suicide Awareness Week in Mullica Hill.

Events throughout the week in the township are meant to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. There will be a free, 45-minute Mindful Walk Suicide Awareness at William Wilt Park on the 10th at 10 a.m. to teach people about the meditative and mindful benefits of walking.

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The Paul Michael Donahue Foundation will host Gentle Yoga at Okka Karate, 33 S. Main St., on Tuesday Sept. 12, from 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. The Mullica Hill library will have a presentation on suicide prevention, Talk Saves Lives, the following evening at 6 p.m. And Trinity Church will host a community and reflection service on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The week culminates with the Wings of Life Memorial 5K/ 1K Walk at Ella Harris Park on Saturday at 9 a.m. The township library will also host a poster-making event for the run on Friday at 3 p.m.

There will also be a community event after the run at American Legion Post 452, from 4 to 8 p.m. It will include food trucks, games and live music. Tickets can be purchased at the link provided for the run and attendees need not be part of the 5K.

The week’s events will also honor the lives of three young Mullica Hill men who lost their lives to suicide and others who met the same fate.

“This is really prompted by the tragic loss of three young people in our community, Paulie Donahue, Brian Blazek and Andrew Matter, over the last nine months or so,” Manzo noted. “Clearly these families have been impacted and their lives have been altered forever. And our hearts go out to them.”

The mayor said even non-residents helped comfort both the families and the community after those losses. The township committee also spent the past several months talking with residents and the families about how to deter suicides.

“We have brought together the mindset of hopefully (providing) the annual process to be able to shine a light on this,” Manzo explained, “and be able to spread the awareness of the suicide-prevention tools that are out there for everyone to be able to utilize.”

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the crisis hotline at 988.

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