Iowa City walk puts spotlight on suicide prevention
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - An Iowa City nonprofit is working to educate young people on suicide prevention. Sunday the “I’m Glad You Stayed Project” hosted a fundraiser—its first-ever walk.
Before the walk, more than 100 people gathered at a pavilion at Terry Trueblood Recreation Center to listen to a list of loved ones who had been lost to suicide.
One name on the list was Dylan Salge, a West High School student who died by suicide at 16.
“My daughter Abbey was friends with Dylan,” said Dottie Schley.
Abbey Schley became friends with Dylan over Snapchat, where she said they messaged each other throughout the day, but one day in March 2021, “it became very scary very fast,” said Abbey.
“He texted her, and she realized that he was about to take his life,” said Dottie.
“It took me a long time for the color to be back in the world,” said Abbey.
Abbey added she never wanted another teenager to be in her position of wondering how to help a friend, and the “I’m Glad You Stayed Project” was born.
The walk Sunday was to honor those lost to suicide, support survivors of suicide loss, and to de-stigmatize talking about suicide.
“We’re gonna say, ‘Hey, we don’t care about the stigmas associated with this, we’re gonna personalize this,’” said Haley Lynch, a suicide prevention advocate and a speaker at Sunday’s event.
As for Abbey, she knows first-hand how important finding community is when grieving.
“The first year after he passed away is just a fog. But [community] is really healing,” said Abbey.
She hopes the walk and her efforts to educate people on suicide prevention help others avoid going through the same pain she’s felt.
“It’s hard to accept that he’s gone and that you’re here. And you have to figure out how to live without him and move forward,” said Abbey.
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