NEWTON – Suicide is the secondleading cause of death for people ages 10-34and the fourthleading cause of death for people 35-54, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.


For Breanna Schnelle, a senior at McPherson High School and captain of the Hi Steppers, suicide became personal last year.


"On Aug. 18, 2019, my family received the news that my uncle had taken his own life," said Schnelle. "My family now has a hole in our hearts that can never be filled."


Seventy-five percent of those who die by suicide are male.


To honor her uncle and promote Suicide Prevention Month, which is observed during the month of September each year, Schnelle and the Hi Steppers led a fundraising initiative at the Sept. 19 home football game. Wrist bands and ribbon pins were sold for $2 apiece. $472 was raised and will benefit Prairie View, McPherson County’s local community mental health center.


"I want to help prevent other families from going through this devastating lifelong experience," said Schnelle.


Patrick Flaming, RN, BSN, director of access services at Prairie View, thanks Schnelle and the Hi-Steppers for organizing the fundraiser and talking about suicide prevention among their peers and community.


"A willingness to openly talk about suicide prevention brings awareness and reduces the stigma," Flaming said. "We weren’t created to go through life alone. We need each other."


Individuals who were unable to attend the game and who are interested in purchasing wrist bands and ribbon pins may email breanna.schnelle21@mcpherson.com.


Prairie View, a faith-based behavioral health services provider, offersing treatment and psychiatric services for all ages as well as consultations for businesses and organizations. In addition to our the campus in Newton with outpatient offices, psychiatric hospital and residential treatment for adolescents, Prairie View serves clients in Hillsboro, McPherson and at two locations in Wichita.