On Sunday, Sept. 25, the Ryan Bartel Foundation will host its seventh annual We’re All Human 5K Color Run at Woodgrove High School as Loudoun marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September.
Families gather each year gather to run or walk the 5K, get showered with colors that symbolize strengths in their lives, and raise awareness for suicide prevention and money for the Bartel Foundation’s youth suicide prevention programs.
The foundation’s leaders noted the number of young people dying by suicide has long been on the rise, even before the pandemic which exacerbated a growing mental health crisis among teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control statistic cited by the foundation, in 2020, mental health-related emergency department visits among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years increased 31% compared to 2019. By February 2021, suicide attempts among girls aged 12 to 17 years had climbed by 50% compared to two years earlier.
From 2016 to 2021, self-harm emergency department visit rates grew among males by 129% and nearly doubled among females, growing by 190%. According to the Virginia Department of Health, in Loudoun, visit for self-harm and suicide among 10- to 19-year-olds rose from from 516 in 2019 to 546 in 2020, and 411 in just the first half of 2021.
“Our country is experiencing a mental health state of emergency, and teen suicide attempts and suicides are at an all-time high,” said Bartel Foundation founder Suzie Bartel. “Our region is no different, so in response, we’re ramping up our efforts to reach more teens with our programs. The We’re All Human 5K Color Run will raise much-needed funds to support those efforts.”
The Ryan Bartel Foundation provides upstream suicide prevention by building resiliency and connections among teens, such as though Sources of Strength training and FORTitude Teen workshops. Parental panels and support groups with mental health professionals provide families with expert advice for parenting teens and a place to connect with other parents whose teens may be struggling.
When they register for the 5K, families can join their school team to compete for the Color Running Man trophy, delivered to the school with the. most team participants. This year, reigning champions Simpson Middle School will be defending their title after winning it three years in a row.
The We’re All Human 5K Color Run at Woodgrove High School will open check-in at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25, with the welcome and color toss at 9:45 a.m. and the run beginning at 10. Breakfast and pizza are provided and registration includes a T-shirt, and raffle packages will be available for purchase.
Register online at ryanbartelfoundation.org/were-all-human-5k-color-run.