Suicide Prevention Ride and Awareness Event

Suicide Prevention Ride and Awareness Event to be held in the area on September 18th.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month and to bring attention to this topic, Northwestern Community Services Board, along with local partner organizations, will have an inaugural Suicide Prevention Motorcycle Ride and Awareness Event on Sunday, September 18. The purpose of this event is to come together as a community to show support for those who have lost loved ones to suicide and to let individuals know that there are resources with whom to reach out and connect when in need.

“We know that many people in our area have been impacted by suicide,” said Corialise Pence, Communications Specialist for Northwestern Community Services Board. “We hope, through this event, that individuals will know they have the support of the community, and that those who are currently struggling will recognize that there are resources available and organizations that can help.”

The Front Royal Moose Riders are partnering with Northwestern CSB to coordinate the motorcycle ride, which will begin at the Front Royal Moose Lodge Pavilion located at 1340 John Marshall Highway. Registration will begin at 8:30 am, with kickstands up at 10:30 am. The cost to ride is $20 per bike and will benefit Concern Hotline, the area’s local 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline. There will also be a resource fair from 8:30 am-11:30 a.m, with a program starting at 10:00 am.

The ride will have one stop in New Market, where Family Youth Initiative will be hosting the Shenandoah County Awareness event and resource fair from 10:00 am–2:00 pm at the Community Center, 9184 John Sevier Rd. The ride will end at Bulldog Stadium in Luray, 740 US-340. Page Alliance for Community Action will be hosting their event at that location from 11:00-2:00. 50/50 raffle tickets, to benefit Concern Hotline, will also be available at all 3 events.

Follow Prevention and Wellness, Family Youth Initiative, and Page Alliance for Community Action Facebook page to stay up to date on all the activities happening in each location. You can find all up-to-date information on On Facebook, you can access PACA at @PageAllianceforCommunityAction; FYI at @ShenCoFYI, Northwestern Community Services Board at @NWCSBCares and NWCSB Prevention and Wellness Services at @NWCSBWellness.

50/50 Drawing

At each of our locations during the Suicide Prevention and Awareness Events we will be selling tickets for a 50/50 Drawing. The winner will be announced at the Luray location during the final program.

All proceeds from the 50/50 Drawing will be donated to the Concern Hotline.

Warren County

Registration will begin at 8:30 am and kickstands will go up at 10:30 am. Registration for the Motorcycle Ride is $20 per bike.

8:30 am – 11:30 am at the Front Royal Moose Lodge Pavilion. CEO of Northwestern Michael Elwell and Prevention Specialist Mandy McCarthy will speak.

Shenandoah County

There will be a public resource fair from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm.

There will be a 20 minute program starting at 11:00 am, where we will have Denise Acker from Northwestern Community Services Board; Levi Miller, and a Speaker from Concern Hotline.

Page County

There will be a public resource fair from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm. At 1:00 pm we will have a short program which will wrap up our event around the area. There will also be face painting and food from El Amigo food truck.

Speakers at Each Event

Mike Elwell

Warren County

Mr. Elwell, has been the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Northwestern Community Services since October, 2015. Mr. Elwell oversees a staff of over 250 dedicated behavioral health professionals. Mr. Elwell has over 42 years of experience in the administration and treatment of people experience mental health, developmental and substance use disorders.

Northwestern Community Services offers an array of outpatient, case management, day support, residential and emergency programs that are designed to enhance the quality of life for both children and adults affected by emotional/behavioral disorders, mental illness, substance use, and intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). Northwestern specializes in rehabilitative and family support services for individuals with such long-term challenges as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, addiction, and those with significant impairments from ID/DD. New referrals are screened for appropriateness and, depending upon capacity/need for service requested, may require placement on a waiting list.

Mandy McCarthy

Warren County and Page County

Mandy has been employed with Northwestern Community Services Board for close to 4 years. She started in 2018 as a Peer Recovery Specialist with experience in both mental health and substance use related.

She recently moved from Peer Support to Prevention and Wellness Services. Mandy is passionate about sharing her story to encourage but also to educate others through evidence-based practices to promote prevention efforts.

Mandy is a suicide attemptie, who has overcome a life surrounded by darkness, she now gives her experience, in an effort to help raise awareness about suicide. The goal is prevention and to help others see the light at the end of the road.

Levi Miller

Shenandoah County

Despite his passion for helping others, his favorite hat to wear, is the one he dons as a husband and a father. A unique experience that he gets to navigate as a transgender man.

As a transgender man, Levi is no stranger to the challenges that present themselves to those within the LGBTQ+ community, knowing that those within the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to attempt to suicide due to the stigma and the mistreatment from others.

Additionally, Levi has experienced the devastation of losing a loved one to suicide after losing his youngest brother right before Christmas in 2020 at the age of 19. He comes from a place of understanding in both sides of the suicide epidemic.

Denise Acker, LPC

Shenandoah and Page County

Denise Acker, a Licensed Professional Counselor, is the Children Youth and Family Services Manager for Northwestern Community Services Board where she has been employed for 19 years.