August 21, 2023 UCS will host Suicide Prevention Awareness Vigil September 29 at Lake Paran Latest News United Counseling Service (UCS) will host a Suicide Prevention Awareness Vigil at 5:30pm on Friday, September 29, 2023, at Lake Paran in North Bennington, VT, for a night of healing and remembrance. This year’s event will be introduced by speakers from UCS, with opportunities for attendees to share thoughts and memories with others if they wish. Community members are invited to join UCS in lighting paper lanterns for those lost to suicide and releasing the lanterns onto the lake after sunset. Light refreshments will be available. This is the second Suicide Prevention Awareness Vigil held by UCS at Lake Paran; the first took place last September during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. September is an opportunity to bring the subject of suicide into the light and make suicide prevention resources more accessible and visible. UCS looks forward to bringing the community together during a time of ever increasing mental health and substance use challenges in Vermont and nationwide. “There was a large group of community members at last year’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Vigil, and some shared their own personal stories of loss,” says Lori Vadakin, Director of Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services. “This was deeply impactful and a cathartic experience for many. The shared conversation and open dialogue cultivated a sense of hope through unity. All communities suffer intense loss from suicide and our county came together to unify over this public health crisis. Everyone walked away better for the event. Not only did it raise awareness, but it helped bring to light the stigma surrounding depression. In this community over one hundred years ago, my paternal great grandfather, a well-known community member, died by suicide. The ripple effects of this loss are still felt to this day. We need to work together, as suicide can be prevented.” If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, please call UCS at 802-442-5491 or call/chat the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Suicide prevention resources can be accessed at ucsvt.org, nami.org, samhsa.gov, thetrevorproject.org, and 988lifeline.org. Information about all upcoming UCS events can be found at ucsvt.org/events. Please contact UCSCommunityRelations@ucsvt.org with any questions about the Suicide Prevention Awareness Vigil.