Michele Spring Reporting:

(Wednesday, September 12, 2018) Newcomerstown, Ohio – A local woman has become the voice and advocate for suicide prevention in Tuscarawas County.

Kristie Wilkin, of Newcomerstown, is no stranger to suicide loss. Wilkin is a three-time suicide loss survivor with the most recent loss of a cousin just a couple years ago.

“When my dad died by suicide in ’97, you just swept it under the rug. Well, when it happened to my husband in 2011, I decided to get involved and got involved in the group and then started to heal, we wanted to help people.”

Wilkin has been a volunteer for years within Tuscarawas County and most recently became one of three individuals who is known as a certified gatekeeper.

“A certified gatekeeper is someone that can recognize the signs and symptoms and where to get help in the Tuscarawas Valley and the surrounding area for anyone who is struggling.”

Wilkin is the event chairwoman for the annual Walk into the Light Suicide Prevention Walk that will take place Sunday, September 23rd at the Newcomerstown High School Lee Stadium.

Along with the ADAMHS Board and the Survivors of Suicide Support Group of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties, they will host a variety of speakers, musicians, and activities.

“This year we have an awesome speaker that is coming in. He has been involved in the Tuscarawas Valley before. His name is Billy Ballinger and he’ll be bringing his group “Break the Grey”. They will have a very important message for all of us.”

Wilkin adds that no one is immune to suicide; it can happen to anyone.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-TALK.

Copyright WTUZ Radio Inc., 2018