Expect to see hundreds of abandoned shoes near the Capitol Thursday: Here’s why

Expect to see hundreds of unattended shoes outside the Wisconsin State Capitol Thursday.

The Center for Suicide Awareness is raising awareness about suicide in our state through its Empty Shoes Memorial.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month in Wisconsin, and this is the third year the memorial has been assembled in the heart of Madison.

The memorial visualizes the impact of suicide across the state by presenting hundreds of shoes and military combat boots on the Capitol lawn, reflecting the number of people who died by suicide in just one year in Wisconsin.

The most recent numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show 918 Wisconsinites died by suicide in 2017. Nearly 1 out of 5 people who died by suicide was a veteran, and suicide was the second leading cause of death among people 10-19 years old.

Mike Crum, director of outreach and veterans services said the memorial sends “a message to legislators to do the right thing and support more suicide intervention programs.”

Crum called it “a somber event to remember those lost to suicide.”

A representative from the Center for Suicide Awareness said suicide impacts everyone in our communities, especially veterans and young adults. “The Empty Shoes Memorial will not only bring attention to the impacts of suicide, but it will connect community members to the Center’s resources such as HOPELINE, a free 24/7 text-based emotional support service,” according to a statement from the center.

To take advantage of HOPELINE, text 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor who will help you sort through your feelings. The text support line is free, and it can help anyone dealing with a painful emotion.

Expect to see hundreds of abandoned shoes near the Capitol Thursday: Here’s why

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