Suicide prevention rally scheduled for May 21

The Venango County Community Support Program will host its first annual suicide prevention rally Saturday, May 21.

The event, titled “Let’s Band Together To Prevent Suicide,” will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. in the Franklin Bandstand Park. This event is free and open to the public.

The rally will kick off with the national anthem and honoring of area veterans. This will be followed by a presentation by Rich Mulholland, director of the Venango County Veterans Affairs office.

Afternoon and evening activities will feature the following bands and musicians performing: Whisky High Country Rock Band, Bob Shawgo, Mitch Littler, Eddie and Grace St. Clair and the band Gravis.

In between the bands’ performances, guest speakers will share stories of hope and survival.

There will be children and family activities from 4 to 6 p.m., including Dexter the Clown and Magician, an outdoor playhouse and other games and prizes.

Various health and human service agencies and local faith groups will have information tables set up from 3 to 6 p.m.

with literature about health and mental health, suicide prevention and hope. There will be food, drinks and band items available for purchase. There will be door prizes, event T-shirts and more. The evening will close with a Passing of the Hope candlelight vigil.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages, while homicide ranks 17th. It is the second leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds.

And with veterans, suicide is roughly 50 percent more prevalent than in civilian groups of similar demographics.