FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
No One Has to Walk Alone: Local Musician Hikes the Long Trail, with a Mission
No One Has to Walk Alone is a community awareness project started by Betsy LeBlanc focused on the issue of suicide. Its mission is to foster an open conversation about suicide and the surrounding mental health issues in an inclusive, stigma free environment so that “no one has to walk alone.”
According to the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center, Vermont has the 11th highest rate of suicide in the nation, with 118 suicides in 2016, an average of two deaths per week. However, because of societal stigma, these deaths are often not reported or mentioned in obituaries, with the result that suicide is not recognized for the public health crisis that it is.
This July, Betsy LeBlanc along with her dog Sam will hike the 272 mile Long Trail as a fundraiser for the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center, a public-private partnership with the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and multiple organizations and a resource for suicide prevention, and Umatter Suicide prevention, a national best practices program. No One Has to Walk Alone will be sponsored by Northwestern Counseling & Support Services (NCSS), a human services agency serving Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. NCSS provides intervention and support to children, adolescents, and adults with emotional and behavioral problems; a mental illness diagnosis; an intellectual disability or developmental delay.
In addition to Betsy’s walk, local composer Don Jamison, poet Lizzy Fox, Heliand Consort musicians Katie Oprea and Betsy LeBlanc and artist Erin Primiano will each be contributing to No One Has to Walk Alone. Their works will be featured on the Facebook page ‘No One Has to Walk Alone’ and at other local events.
Finally, please help Betsy and Sam find their trail names. Northwestern Counseling & Support Services will be organizing a community effort to help name the hiking duo. Please submit names to the Northwestern Counseling & Support Service’s Facebook page by June 15th. Creative individual or team names welcome. Betsy will pick 5 names to be voted on one week prior to their journey.
The public is encouraged to follow Betsy and Sam’s progress by visiting the No One Has Walk Alone’s Facebook page and on Instagram @elisabeth_betsy_leblanc. To make a financial contribution please visit https://goto.gg/f/27032. All proceeds benefit the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center and UMatter.
By supporting No One Has to Walk Alone we can work together as a community to understand and prevent suicide.