Rio Grande holds suicide prevention awareness event

Published: Apr. 24, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT
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GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - Linda Oiler says her son Christopher meant everything to her.

“His passion in life was music,” Oiler said. “He was a guitar player, he sang, he played bass.”

Oiler says in 2018, Christopher took his own life when he was only 23. She says he was not the only one her son grew up with to do so.

“There have been several kids that grew up with my children that we’ve buried through suicide,” Oiler said.

So for the fifth straight year, the University of Rio Grande is doing what they can to make sure that people know there are resources for them, by holding an “Out of the Darkness” event on campus.

For nearly a month, students and teachers have been going to each or Rio’s regional campuses inviting the community to participate in paying tribute to those they have lost on a luminara.

Those tributes contain individual messages, but all 7,500 of them provide one message of hope.

“Everybody coming together and really supporting this message and working together to create this huge visual of hope and all these luminaries,” said Rio professor Dr. Courtney Ruggles. “I think it is going to have a lasting impact”

Oiler says that hope is exactly what Christopher and the others she has lost would have wanted to spread.

“All they would want to do is help other people not feel the way that they felt,” Oiler said.

If you or someone you love is suffering from mental health issues, you may reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or text ‘4HOPE’ to 741-741.

Oiler also has a scholarship set up in Christopher’s name for music students at Gallia Academy High School. Click here for more information.

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