The Oregon State Pen Rises to a 100-Mile Challenge to Stop Soldier Suicide

This article was written by the Oregon State Penitentiary’s Public Information Officer. With Memorial Day just around the corner, we thought this story was particularly inspirational and a good reminder of how we can remember the American service members we have lost.

The veteran memorial at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, OR

In a time where uncertainty and unrest are at the forefront of society, and communities are struggling to maintain alignment and unity with one another, individuals are still pushing forward, adapting to challenges, and finding creative ways to stay connected. For those struggling with mental illness, this is a greater challenge. For our nation’s veterans, this is an act of survival.

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Out of the Darkness at OSCI

Like many of our facilities, Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI) recently partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to host their first Out of the Darkness walk, working to prevent and foster awareness around suicide. The walk provided OSCI’s adults in custody (AICs) and employees a space to discuss their experiences, express their grief, and learn about warning signs and prevention efforts.

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Powder River Walks for Suicide Prevention

Participants wore signs representing their motivation for walking in the event.

On June 28, Powder River Correctional Facility (PRCF) in Baker City held its very first Suicide Prevention Walk. Around 150 people participated in the walk, including adults in custody (AICs), institution staff, and contractors. Considering that Powder River is a fairly small facility, this is an incredible turnout!

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Santiam Correctional Institution walks “Out of the Darkness”

AIC Pedro Perez speaks to SCI’s “Out of the Darkness” attendees as Dan Bielenberg, Shea May, and Ryan Price look on.

In early 2017, Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI) committed to build a partnership with AFSP in an effort to educate and assist with funding and research to reduce suicide in correctional settings. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has been a leader in research and reduction of Suicide in the United States since 1987.  Thanks to this partnership, SCI was the first correctional facility in the nation to host such a suicide prevention walk!

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