HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States and the 11th cause of death in Pennsylvania. In 2020, there were an estimated 1.20 million suicide attempts with 45,979 Americans who died by suicide.

That same year, there were 15.4 suicide deaths for every 100,000 Pennsylvanians. The national average was 11 residents for every 100,000.

Chronically Strong, a Midstate group raising awareness for mental health, is hosting the first Suicide Café where people can get help and destigmatize suicide. The May 14 event at 12 p.m. will be facilitated by Peter Scheer, M.S., a nationally certified counselor, and hosted by their founder, Gina Casner, whose daughter died on her 53rd suicide attempt.

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“There is nothing mothers won’t do for their children, and when you make a promise to your child to make sure you redeem their pain, that’s the only way I can help Katie now,” said Casner.

The group will introduce the idea of a Suicide Café and explore ideas and beliefs about suicide. The intent of this café is not to be depressing or overwhelming, but rather to open up the conversation and destigmatize suicide by coming together as a community.

The idea is that by becoming more comfortable with talking about suicide and destigmatizing it, people can become less fearful and be able to talk about it more with their loved ones.

This event is free and is open to anyone, including teenagers. The size of the event is limited and participants must register by going to the Eventbrite link, or email chronicallystrong23@gmail.com within 48 hours of the event.

If you or someone you know is thinking of harming themselves, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free support at 1-800-273-8255.