In July, the Democrat reported rising suicide rates in Pettis County. Amanda Eisenbarth and Amanda Brown, two friends and Sedalia residents, alarmed by trend and personally invested on issues like depression and suicide decided to do something about it.
“We said let’s do something to see if we can do anything to help,” Eisenbarth said. “To make our community aware that someone is out there, that the community does care and they don’t have to take their own lives.”
In September — suicide prevention month — the two lead the effort in organizing Memory Lane — It’s Not Always Easy Street 5K Walk/Run. Their goals were modest, but the event quickly gained momentum. A Facebook page created for the event gained almost 600 likes since its creation in July.
Eisenbarth said even though it was hard work, she enjoyed the legwork.
“I pretty much lived and breathed it,” Eisenbarth said. “Everything has just been amazing. It’s just falling into place. I just can’t believe it.”
The 5K is scheduled for Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. at Katy Trail. The two received so much support, that they started a Memory Lane foundation to continue their event annually and offer meetings for those coping with depression.
“Probably every single person has a family member or a connection to someone in their family that has either committed suicide, or had an attempt or depression,” Brown said. “There’s always somebody in the family that has it — whether you know it or not — it’s just out there. We thought this would be the best way to bring it out and hopefully get it on the table and start discussing it instead of hiding it.”
Brown and Eisenbarth said public discourse about suicide is their primary goal for the 5K. To them, it’s clear the community agrees. In three short months, Memory Lane foundation gained more than 30 sponsors.
“So many people seem to be scared to talk about suicide when it is a problem,” Eisenbarth said. “That’s why we’re trying to get people to open up and say hey, it’s OK, there’s other people like you.”
Participants can pre-register for the Memory Lane — It’s Not Always Easy Street 5K at 7:30 a.m.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000.