Suicide is a discussion most people would rather avoid, but learning the signs that someone may be thinking about taking their own life, knowing how to get them the proper care, and changing the way we look at suicide, are just a few ways we can get the discussion started.
We have all been affected by suicide in one way or another. Perhaps a family member is battling depression. Maybe you have a friend who uses drugs or alcohol to deal with life and they have begun to abuse them. Maybe you have suffered a loss and feel that life isn't worth living anymore. Whatever the cause, life becomes so difficult for some people, they begin to believe that suicide is a viable option.
Last year alone, Iowa attributed 433 deaths to suicide, according to idph.iowa.gov. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34 in our state. But, while the numbers are alarming, there is Hope; a local organization is doing its best to raise awareness and funds to educate the public about how we can prevent suicide from happening to those we care about.
The HOPEwalk does this through Honoring (those we have lost), Openness (to start the conversation to help eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide), Prevention, and Education. The primary goal of the walk is to raise awareness. Funds that are raised stay local to support suicide prevention programs and initiatives in and around Linn County that meet and support the goals and mission statement of the HOPEwalk.
HOPEwalk of Cedar Rapids will hold its annual walk Saturday, Sept. 29 in Cherry Hill Park in NW Cedar Rapids. The event's location has been changed due to wet conditions at Robins Lake.
One way HOPEwalk educates the public is by inviting speakers to talk to the community about their experience with suicide. This year they have invited Kevin Hines. Kevin was 19 years old when he attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Since then, Kevin has been on a mission to use his story to help others find recovery and stay alive. He has become a prominent international suicide prevention speaker and advocate.
Suicide is Becoming an Epidemic
Suicide is on the rise across the nation. According to an article in the Des Moines Register, Iowa's suicide rate increased faster than most states' between 1999 - 2016. The article stated that a study from the Centers for Disease Control showed that Iowa saw a 36.2 percent increase during that time.
Contributing to the problem is a lack of options for Iowans with mental illness, according to the Des Moines Register article. At least eight Iowa hospitals have closed inpatient psychiatric units in recent years, including state mental hospitals in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda. The state also lacks qualified physicians who can treat mental illness.
The CDC stated that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a diagnosed mental health condition, and those who should seek help, don’t. The study also found that there are many reasons why someone would want to end their life, including relationship problems or loss, substance misuse, physical health problems and job, money, legal or housing stress.
If you are overwhelmed with life’s challenges, there are several resources you can utilize:
How to help someone who is suicidal
As a young girl growing up in Cedar Rapids, I looked forward to fall; the changing colors of the trees, hayrack rides, and our annual trip to the local apple orchard. Though I have skipped a few annual trips over the years, visiting one local orchard reminded me of why I looked forward to it every year.
Allen's Apple Orchard located at 5801 10th St, Marion, offers more than just apples. Their haystack/tunnel for the kids, along with hayrack rides, and the opportunity to pick your own apples provides an entertaining family activity that everyone can enjoy.
Allen's also has a variety of items in their store, including local honey, jams and jellies, and their homemade apple donuts and apple slushies, and of course, different kinds of apples that are labeled as to which are best for cooking and eating. Children's books about apples, crafts, and other locally-made craft items are also available for purchase.
We chose to pick our own apples during our visit Sept. 15. Since this was our first time at Allen's, we had to ask how we go about it. One of the staff members patiently asked us what kind of apples we were looking for and directed us to the trees that had a purple ribbon, signifying Cortland apples, great for eating and baking. (Apple Crisp recipe below)
The tree was full of ripe, delicious-looking apples, and we chose the best ones and took them back to the store to pay for them. As we stood in line, I looked over and saw a case filled with donuts and turnovers. I chose the apple donuts (3 for $3), and though it was a tough decision between the two, I was so glad I did. The homemade donuts were indescribably delicious, with just the right balance of apples, sugar, and cinnamon.
The visit to Allen's Orchard brought back many memories for me, as well as created new ones; an adventure that is sure to become an annual tradition.
Allen's is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.
Cindy's Apple Crisp
6 apples, peeled and cores, and diced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
Preheat oven to 375°. Toss apples with cinnamon and sugar and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Place apples in a 9" x 13" pan and top with oats and sugar mixture. Bake for 40 minutes or until apples are tender.
It’s hard to believe summer is nearly over. Kids are back in school; mornings and evenings are getting cooler; and soon the leaves will turn beautiful shades of yellows and reds. Though Iowa is known for its Indian summers, it’s just a matter of time before pumpkin spice takes over our air freshners and coffees.
The autumnal equinox officially arrives Saturday, Sept. 22 according to the Farmer’s Almanac. It is the astronomical start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere; days become shorter and we will soon have to “fall back” and change the clocks to reflect an hour earlier. (Daylights Savings happens Sunday, Nov.4.)
Fall in Iowa means football games, romps in the corn mazes, scenic road trips, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, hayrack rides, and bonfires.
Just because the weather is turning cooler is no reason to stop having fun. Here are a few apple orchards and farms in our area offering fun activities this fall:
5801 N 10th Street, Marion, Iowa 52302
Located just north of Marion, Allen’s is a family-run orchard that hosts field trips, weddings, bonfires and much more. Allen’s offers over 40 varieties of delicious apples that are available in various parts of the year.
Visit on Saturday and Sunday during Open Season and pick your own apples. Allen’s also has fresh grown produce, unique gifts, and scrumptious treats like donuts, turnovers, cookies, pies and caramel apples.
Allen’s is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, visit their website at www.allensorchard.com.
Bart’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch
7307 Alburnett Rd, Marion, Iowa 52302
Bart’s opens Saturday, Sept. 22 at 9 am. Pony rides will be held from noon to 4 pm and are $7 each. There are other activities for the kids to do including hayrack rides, small pedal tractors and a small corn maze. Schedule a field trip or display delivery by calling 319-373-2633. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
The Big Apple Orchard
1115 Hwy 30 W, Mt. Vernon, Iowa 52314
The Big Apple Orchard is a family run apple orchard in Mount Vernon. The Big Apple Orchard has approximately 2,000 apple trees and 22 varieties of apples.
Located two miles west of Mount Vernon, right along Highway 30. Look for the yellow house and Statue of Liberty barn on the north side of the road, where the four lane changes to a two lane (when heading east).
The Big Apple Orchard is now open. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Fridays, 3-6 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am-6 pm, and closed Wednesdays and Thursdays.
More information can be found at bigappleorchard.com.
Bass Family Farms
840 Bass Lane, Mt Vernon, Iowa 52314
Featuring pesticide and herbicide-free veggies, sweet corn, pumpkins, gourds, jams, jellies, sauces, dips, soaps, popcorn, free range eggs, locally raised beef products, Edgewood Locker meat, coffee, wines from across the world, and specialty chocolates.
Bass Family Farms also offer hay-rides, educational tours, and corporate or group outings, as well as private parties. Contact us at (319) 895-6480 for information, or visit their website at bassfarms.org.
245 Hwy. 1 South, Mt Vernon, Iowa 52314
Kroul Farms offers Indian corn, gourds and squash, straw bales, corn-shucks, and specialty pumpkins, and are available for fall decorating projects and events.
This Halloween, pull your wagon through the spooky graveyard and past the haunted old car. See how tall you are this year on the big "how tall this fall" sign and take your picture as Frankenstein. The 3-acre corn maze is quite a challenge, so a smaller version is made out of round bales for the little ones.
Visit their website at kroulfarms.com for more information.
3260 69th St, Atkins, Iowa 52206
Bloomsbury Farm offers a huge pumpkin patch, as well as a variety of other activities, including 2 corn mazes, hayrack rides, jumping pillow, zip line, petting zoo, gift shop, and much more. The cost is $8.95 per person Mon. through Fri., and $12.50 per person on the weekends. Kids 2 and under are free.
Bloomsbury Farms also offers Scream Acres, featuring the haunted cornfield. Details can be found at www.bloomsburyfarm.com. Bloomsbury Acres pumpkin patch is open until Oct. 31.
Colony Pumpkin Patch
2780 Front St NE, North Liberty, Iowa 52317
Colony Pumpkin Patch has over 15 acres of carving and decorative pumpkins, a variety of squash and gourds, and a 5-acre corn maze and fall festival Oct. 6 that continues to expand every year.
Colony Pumpkin Patch is open Sept. 15 to Oct. 28, Monday through Friday 4 pm – 6 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 6 pm.
The Flashlight Maze is available Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28 to Oct. 27, from 7-10 pm. (Last ticket sold at 9:30 pm)
For more information, visit colonypumpkinpatch.com.
4823 Dingleberry Road NE, Iowa City, Iowa 52240
Wilson’s is a U-Pick apple orchard located just North of Iowa City with family activities happening all season. Wilson’s Orchard has 120 different varieties of apple trees and offers pumpkins, as well.
Trailer Rides cost $5 per person (4 years old and up), and are completely redeemable in apples. So, if you buy two trailer ride tickets for $10, you can receive the same amount back in apples.
Wilson’s Orchard is open daily through October 10 am to 6 pm. Visit their website for details at willsonsorchard.com or on their Facebook page.