“A Light in the Dark” event to offer hope and support

The first “Light in the Dark” Suicide Prevention Awareness Glow Walk will be held this Saturday, September 23, 2023, at the Washington Court House High School Track. Registration and sign-in begins at 6:30 p.m., and the walk will begin at 7 p.m. The walk is being organized by the Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition, “A Community of Hope.” 

“We encourage anyone who is in need of support or who would like to offer support to attend,” said Missy Smith, coalition member. “You do not have to do the walk to participate.” 

Smith added “The community has really been amazing in supporting this event. There are many generous sponsors supporting the event. The Washington Court House and Miami Trace cheerleaders, Washington Court House Hope Squad, and Miami Trace student government have been helping with preparations for the walk. We are hoping to provide support and hope to those who are struggling.”

In addition to the awareness walk, there will be several organizations with tables and information about resources for mental health, housing, parenting, and more.

A stoneware thumbler from Biers Run Mudd will be in the swag bags provided to the first 50 people who registered for the walk.

Handmade greeting cards from Jana Deeks will be in the swag bags provided to the first 50 people who registered for the walk

A $10 donation is requested to attend (children 17 and under are free). The proceeds from the event will support the coalition’s efforts, which include the promotion of the 988 crisis lifeline, care baskets, and training.  McNair Presbyterian Church is covering the donation for anyone who would like to attend but is unable to pay.

Tasty Treats food trailer will be set up in the parking lot starting at 5 p.m. A limited amount of t-shirts will be available at the walk for $15. Sizes cannot be guaranteed and the shirts will be sold, first come, first served.

Participating Agencies

The following organizations will have tables and provide information at the event.

Community Action Commission of Fayette County

Community Action Commission of Fayette County (CAC) is a private non-profit corporation committed to doing all things necessary to aid in eliminating poverty.  The mission of the CAC is to combat the causes of poverty, expand community services, and implement projects necessary to provide services and further community improvements.  Its mission is also to consider the problems concerning youth, adults, and senior citizens and deal with the prevention and solving of those problems, including the development and management of affordable housing for special populations like individuals in recovery from substance abuse or mental illness, victims of domestic violence, the homeless and/or disabled, and low to moderate income individuals, families, and seniors. 

The vision of CAC is to facilitate the development of effective community programs that provide every individual and neighborhood in our community the opportunity to thrive.

Community Action believes in the person-centered approach to human services. Key values are not judging others, understanding other’s experiences from their point of view, and fully honoring the uniqueness of the individuals we serve in a genuine and heartfelt way while respecting autonomy.  CAC believes that without a significant relationship, there cannot be significant learning.  To that end, they value the dignity and respect of each member of our community.

CAC will bring program information.

Fayette County Early Learning Center

The Fayette County Early Learning Center offers no cost services to families and support the Head Start core values that are delivered in 5-star center-based facilities in Washington Court House and Jeffersonville, home-based programming, and 5-star family childcare settings located in Fayette, Highland, and Clinton counties. The comprehensive programs enroll throughout their program year and are available to qualifying expectant parents and families with children ages birth to five years old from diverse cultural backgrounds. In addition to the supported learning and development of children, Fayette County Early Learning Center provides medical, dental, hearing, vision, and behavioral screenings, healthy meals and snacks, and supportive family partners to empower the well-being of the family to best support children and their family preparing children to succeed in school and life.

Fayette County Early Learning Center will bring flyers, giveaways, and program information. 

Fayette County Help Me Grow

Fayette County Help Me Grow Home Visitors teach new parents how to keep their children healthy; coach families on how to be great parents; and provide one-on-one support. Home visitors are there for caregivers and babies at the most important time in their lives. The program provides expectant or new parents with the information, support, and encouragement they need through a voluntary, high-quality home visiting service.

By supporting positive interactions with children in stable and stimulating environments, Help Me Grow seeks to create a sturdy foundation for future achievement. Ultimately, this approach is essential to the educational and economic success of Ohio’s children and families. The Help Me Grow Home Visiting program has four central goals: increase healthy pregnancies; improve parenting confidence and competence; increase family connectedness to community and social supports; and improve child health, development, and readiness.

Help Me Grow will bring program information and resources for families of young children.

Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition (A Community of Hope)

The Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition is dedicated to building healthy and safe communities by helping others discover their reasons to live through promoting awareness, education, intervention, and support services.’

The coalition will bring yard signs, resources, coalition information, and giveaways. There will also be information about a GriefShare support group that will be starting in the community.

Integrated Services for Behavioral Health

Integrated Services for Behavioral Health (ISBH) is a Community Mental Health Agency serving Fayette County and 20 other counties in Central, Southern, and Southeast Ohio. They offer home-based supportive services, counseling, psychiatry, housing, and OhioRise Care Coordination. The ISBH’s mission is to deliver exceptional care through connection. Their vision is healthy people and strong communities.

ISBH staff will bring resources and information about their services.

R.E.A.C.H. for Tomorrow, Inc.

The mission of R.E.A.C.H. for Tomorrow is to help individuals, families, churches, coalitions, and communities realize their goals for health, healing, and wholeness using the tools of Restoration, Education, Advocacy, Collaboration, and Hope.

“In response to our faith in almighty God, the vision of R.E.A.C.H. for Tomorrow is to heal and to prevent brokenness in the world caused by trauma, abuse, and mental illness; and in its place bring edification and empowerment–either by working alone in the gaps or bonded with other like-minded persons,” said program leadership.

R.E.A.C.H. for Tomorrow will bring information about mental health, substance use programming, support groups, etc. 

Scioto Paint Valley Mental Health Clinic

Scioto-Paint Valley Mental Health Center is a private, non-profit organization serving Fayette, Highland, Pickaway, Ross, and Pike counties.  Within the last year, they are excited to be extending particular services beyond this catchment region.  During the 1960s, Ms. Martha Cottrill and other community volunteers paved the way for a steering committee to organize and develop a mental health center. 

The mission of the center is to provide leadership and services in a community-wide effort to foster positive, optimal mental health and to assist the community in finding ways to prevent, reduce, and minimize the residual effects of mental health problems. 

Representatives of the Scioto-Paint Valley Mental Health Center (Fayette County clinic) will be glad to provide information and answer questions about the services available through Scioto-Paint Valley Mental Health Center which include outpatient therapy for children, adolescents and adults, medical treatment, residential care and emergency services. 

Information from agency brochures will be available to further describe details about the services that are offered.

Second Chance Center of Hope

Second Chance Center of Hope exists to assist the community’s homeless, low/moderate income level families, and victims of domestic violence with encouragement, empathy, and hope. The goal is to help guide them to resources and encourage the use of services that enable them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They provide many services that focus on the stepping stones of success for individuals and families.

Second Chance will have information about the program.

The Wake

The Wake is a weekly outreach focused on bringing hope to our community.  Every Thursday, they serve a free, hot meal at 6:30 p.m. at the Langley Theater (Lafayette Room).  At 7 p.m., there is live Christian music from a variety of musicians and singers as well as a speaker who has battled and overcome a stronghold in their life.  Anxiety, depression, anger, addictions, suicide… they have all been topics at The Wake and lives have been changed and hope restored to those in attendance.  “The Wake is causing a “ripple of hope” through Fayette County and beyond and we are so excited to be a part of this community,” said April Young.  “We will have more information available this Saturday at the Glow Walk.  If you’re struggling, we’d love to meet you and offer you the same hope that so many others have found.” 

The Wake will give out information about its services and outreach.

Walk Organizers

The following organizations are represented on the glow walk committee and provided financial, technical, and logistical support for the walk:

  • Adena Senior Health Solutions
  • Chillicothe VA
  • Fayette County Board of Developmental Disabilities
  • Fayette County Commission on Aging
  • Fayette County Community Action Commission
  • Fayette County Early Learning Center’
  • Fayette County Public Health
  • Ohio State University Extension
  • Paint Valley ADAMH Board
  • Rose Avenue Dream Center
  • REACH for Tomorrow, Inc.

Walk Sponsors

The glow walk is possible due to the generosity of the following sponsors who have donated time, money, or resources to this event.

Gold Sponsors: Adena Health, Biers Run Mudd, Community Action Commission of Fayette County, Fayette County Public Health, McNair Presbyterian Church, Paint Valley ADAMH Board, REACH for Tomorrow, Inc., Sugar Creek Packing, Unlimited Contracting Solutions, LLC

Medallion Sponsors: Bret, Melissa, Will and Chase Smith, Parrett Insurance, Pathways to Recovery, Signature Health Care, Summers Funeral Home, Washington Court House City Schools

Century Sponsors: Cheryl and Creg Stockwell, Fox Jewelers, Jana Deeks, N.O.T.W. Remodeling, Save the Clefts Rescue, Second Chance Community Center of Hope, Lorre Black Umbrellas, SVG Motors, Trends Downtown on Court, YUSA

Silver Sponsors: Fiber Tech, Tasty Treats, Quality Collision, Whymsical Belle (Serena Huddleson)

Register here.

Drive-through flu vaccines to be offered at Fayette County fairgrounds

Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) will host a drive-thru flu vaccination clinic on Monday, September 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fayette County fairgrounds. No appointment is necessary.  

The following insurance is accepted: Aetna, Aetna Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem BCBS Medicare, Buckeye, CareSource, Cigna (Allied Health), CareSource, Medicaid of Ohio, Medical Mutual, Medicare B(for Flu and Pneumonia Only), Molina, Ohio PPO Connect, Paramount, United HealthCare, United HealthCare Community Plan. We are unable to accept Humana and Medigold at this time. The cash price is $25 for a regular flu vaccine or $65 for a flu block or high-dose flu vaccine.

Assistance may be available for those without insurance who are unable to pay. Please bring an ID and your health insurance card.  Call 740-335-5910 if you have questions.

A mother’s mission – to be “A Light in the Dark”

Cheryl Stockwell was sitting in the Commission on Aging booth at the Fayette County Fair. There was a lull between the parades of fairgoers visiting the Mahan Building, so she took advantage of the quiet time by reading a book. The subdued hum of people shuffling through the building was interrupted by a voice that spoke up at her booth.

 “Aren’t you embarrassed?” the person asked. Cheryl looked up and saw a lady motioning to a sign. “Doesn’t the sign bother you?” she continued, “especially considering your situation?”

“My situation?” Cheryl thought to herself. She took a moment to gather her thoughts. 
“The sign doesn’t embarrass me,” she replied. After all, she had been the one who chose to prominently display the sign, promoting the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, at her booth. 
Although Cheryl was not familiar with the person standing before her, and wasn’t sure how or what the stranger knew about her “situation,” she took the opportunity to share a message that had been weighing on her heart. “I want my son’s death to mean something,” she said. “I want his life to mean something. If even one person can be helped, I want to do that.”

The situation that was being referred to was the loss of Cheryl and Creg Stockwell’s youngest son, Derek. Despite suffering one of the most painful situations that a parent could experience – the loss of a child by suicide – Cheryl has committed herself to sharing her family’s story and to bringing this issue to light. “I don’t want people to walk on eggshells,” she said, “I want to get rid of the stigma.”

There is a group in Fayette County who, like Cheryl, is on a mission to bring hope to those who need it and would love for others in the community to do the same. The Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition works to educate the community and reduce the stigma around talking about mental health issues so that anyone – and everyone – can be a light in the dark. 

And so, the idea for a glow walk was born. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The first annual “A Light In The Dark” Glow Walk will take place on Saturday, September 23, 2023. This event will be held at the Washington High School track and begins at 7:30 p.m.

“A Light in the Dark”  is being planned to honor, remember, educate, offer hope and resources, and remind people that they are not alone. This walk is for those whose lives have been affected by suicide. It is for the families left behind. It is for anyone who is currently struggling with mental health issues, who needs to know where to turn, or who needs to know that they are not alone and that someone cares. This walk is also for everyone in the community who wants to support, encourage, and uplift those in our community who are hurting.

From 2012-2022, there were 28 suicide deaths in Fayette County. In the first six months of 2023, within our small community, we have already suffered five more losses.  This has affected males and females, old and young, from 14 to 89. The data shows that five Ohioans die by suicide every day, and one youth dies every 34 hours. 

Nationally, among veterans between the ages of 18–44, suicide was the second-leading cause of death in 2020, according to the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported suicide as among the top 9 leading causes of death for people ages 10-64. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 20-34.

“It is our hope that by bringing attention to this and other mental health issues, those fighting a daily fight will also attend the event to get support,” said Cheryl Stockwell. “I’m working hard to make sure that nobody else lives through this.”

Cheryl’s mission, as well as the mission of the coalition, is clear. “We have to get rid of the stigma,” she said. “We have to. We need to try to get the word out that there is so much help out there. So many people are hurting but they won’t do anything about it because they’re afraid that maybe they’ll lose their job or they are worried about the ‘what ifs.’” 
It is the hope of the coalition that this walk will increase awareness of the resources and support that can be found in Fayette County.

Glow Walk 
Registration opened on August 14 and ends on September 5. The first 50 participants to sign up for the walk will receive swag bags. Everyone who registers by the September 5 deadline will get a t-shirt.  Luminaries in honor or remembrance of loved ones will be available for $2 each. Anyone interested in participating can register here.

Memorial Display
A unique keepsake will be available in the form of an acrylic “raindrop” that will be a part of an umbrella display by Lorre Black Umbrellas. Memorial raindrops will be available for purchase ahead of the event. The cost is $20. Contact Cheryl Stockwell at 740-335-2159 by September 8 to purchase this keepsake.

Sponsors and Resources
The group is currently seeking sponsors for the walk. Local individuals, businesses, or organizations that would like to sponsor this event or donate in-kind (gift cards, swag bag items, water, snacks, giveaways) are asked to call Harley Dawson or Missy Smith at Fayette County Public Health (740-335-5910). Organizations that would like to set up a table at this event are asked to contact Harley or Missy at that number as well.

About Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition
FCSPC was formed in 2019. Members include community agency representatives, clergy, community members, and family and friends of those who have died by suicide. 
Since its inception, the coalition has accomplished the following: 

● Created care packages to provide to families in Fayette County who were affected by a suicide death 

● Provided awareness information at community events 

● Purchased billboard messaging to promote the 988 Suicide Crisis Lifeline

 ● Sponsored QPR Gatekeeper training. QPR is designed to train anyone how to offer hope and take action when they are concerned that someone may be at risk for suicide.) Future plans include: 
● Reducing stigma around the utilization of mental health resources 

● Promotion of the 988 Suicide Crisis Lifeline as well as local resources 

● Support and promotion of programs in the schools 

For more information about the coalition or the walk, follow the Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition on Facebook.

Join the Fun at the Jeffersonville Pool: Free Pool Day Sponsored by Fayette County Public Health

Get ready for a day of sun and fun as Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) presents a free community pool day – the “Back to Class Splash Bash”  – at the Jeffersonville Pool on August 10. This community event will feature games, prizes, and valuable information about public health programs.

Admission to the pool will be completely free for all attendees. The event will be held at the Jeffersonville Pool located at 42 Colonial Drive, Jeffersonville, starting at 12 p.m. Health department staff will be there until 4:30 p.m. 

There will be games and prizes. The FCPH team will also be present to provide valuable information about their public health programs, including immunizations, reproductive health, and wellness, Help Me Grow, and more. 

“We encourage parents and guardians to take advantage of this opportunity to schedule their child’s immunizations,” said Amy Friel, RN, Immunization Coordinator. “Immunizations play a crucial role in safeguarding the health and well-being of children and the community at large. By ensuring your child’s immunizations are up to date, you are protecting them from preventable diseases and contributing to the overall public health of our community.”

“We are thrilled to host this free pool day as a way to engage with our community and promote public health initiatives,” said Leigh Cannon, Health Commissioner at Fayette County Public Health. “This event allows us to combine fun and vital health information, fostering a healthier and happier community.”

Mark your calendars for August 10 and don’t miss out on this fun day. Bring your family, friends, and neighbors for an afternoon of enjoyment, community engagement, and valuable health information. 

For more information about  Fayette County Public Health’s programs, please contact Missy Smith, Public Information Officer, at 740-335-5910 or missy.smith@fayette-co-oh.com.

About Fayette County Public Health: Fayette County Public Health strives to provide public health services to our community, placing emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention to protect the health and well-being of the residents of Fayette County. We strive to provide accessible services, education, and resources to enhance the overall quality of life within the community. For more information, visit faycohd.org.

Rolling Rimples winners announced

“Rolling Rimples” organizers recently announced the winners of their 32nd program. Rolling Rimples is a weight loss program sponsored by the Fayette County Public Health and United Way.

This program is a fun, competitive weight loss challenge among businesses in Fayette County. Businesses that participate have as many teams as they want with four or five people on a team. Janessa Williamson, RN, is the health educator at Fayette County Public Health and she goes out to each business once a month for five months and weighs each participant.

Those who are participating receive a piece of fruit. They also get a healthy recipe and notes on eating properly, how to eat healthy at a restaurant, or shopping wisely at the grocery, and other health-related information.

This program consisted of 9 businesses, 17 teams, and 66 individuals. At the end of the program, the top three individuals are given gift cards in the amounts of $100, $50, and $25, respectively, with each member of the winning team receiving a $50 gift card.

The first-place team was the Department of Job and Family Services (JFS) Team #1. The team consisted of Jaime Bias, Marcie Hamilton, Paula Resor, and Faith Powih. The four together lost 77.6 pounds.

Top individual weight loss winners were:

1st place-Heath Link (42.9 pounds) Farm Credit

2nd place-Paula Resor (33.3 pounds) JFS

3rd place-Jaime Bias (30.3 pounds) JFS

As always losing weight is one of the first steps for being healthier. Organizers congratulate all the participants and want to encourage everyone to eat healthier, drink more water and keep moving!

1st place – Heath Link
2nd place – Paula Resor
3rd place – Jaime Bias

Winning team – DJFS #1 – from left, Faith Powih, Marcie Hamilton, Jaime Bias and Paula Resor

FCPH to offer free sports physicals in June, July

Fayette County Public Health will offer free sports physicals in June and July. Appointments are required.

Dates are:

June 12,  1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
June 22,  8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
July 25,   8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
July 27,   8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Schedule here or call 740-335-5910. The paperwork can be found here and may be completed ahead of time

Safe Sitter courses offered in June

Fayette County Public Health will again offer the Safe Sitter course this summer. This program is designed to prepare students going into sixth, seventh, and eighth grades to be safe when they’re home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. It is a one-day class. Students will learn safety, child care, first aid, rescue, and business skills.

Classes are June 21 and June 27, and the hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $50, payable on the day of class. Students need to bring a packed lunch. Each participant receives a backpack with a book of everything they learn that day, a flashlight, special note pads for instructions, and a Band-Aid dispenser. 

Registration is required. Please call 740-335-5910 or visit this link to register. If you have questions, ask for Janessa Williamson, RN. Registration forms are due back to the health department no later than June 9.

Local coalition promotes 988 crisis text line during Mental Health Awareness month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition is giving away yard signs to promote the National Crisis & Suicide Lifeline – 988. Signs will be available on Saturday, May 13 at the Fayette County Public Health table at the Farmers Market and the Community Action Program Fair at Community Action. From left, coalition members Melinda Sheets, Paint Valley ADAMH Board; Angie Mellott, Adena Fayette Senior Life Solutions; Judy Havens, Community Action Commission; Leigh Cannon, Fayette County Public Health; and Sarah Nelson, Columbus Springs.

Local coalition promotes 988 crisis text line

In Ohio, roughly 1,600 individuals die from suicide each year and more than twice as many people die from suicide than homicide. While there is no single cause of suicide, there are things we can all do to reduce the risk. 

Sharing information and resources and raising awareness about the impact of suicide on communities is a vital part of suicide prevention efforts. Suicide impacts communities across racial, age, socioeconomic, and geographic sectors, and suicide prevention efforts require collaboration among all sectors of society. These efforts must be coordinated, as no single approach can impact an issue as complex as suicide.

Suicide prevention coalitions concentrate the community’s focus, encourage alliances, and create consistency in the community’s approach to the root causes of suicide. Together, members of a coalition can do more to reduce suicides, support grieving families, and inspire change in the world around them than if they work by themselves.

The Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition is dedicated to building healthy and safe communities by helping others discover their reasons to live through promoting awareness, education, intervention, and support services. The goal is to save lives by connecting Fayette Countians to hope, help, and suicide prevention resources.

The Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition is giving away yard signs to promote the National Crisis & Suicide Lifeline – 988. Signs will be available Saturday, May 13 at the Fayette County Public Health table at the Farmers Market from 8:30 a.m. – noon and the Community Action Program Fair at CAC from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Crisis & Suicide Lifeline at 988 or Text 4HOPE to 741741.

For more information regarding the Fayette County Suicide Prevention Coalition, call 740-773-2283

Vaccination clinics scheduled for middle school and high school students in May

FCPH nurses will offer voluntary vaccinations during the month of May at area schools. Parental consent is required.

Dates are:

May 5 – 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Meningitis offered at Washington High School
May 10 – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Meningitis and Tdap offered at Miami Trace Middle School and Miami Trace High School.
May 12 – 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Meningitis and Tdap offered at Washington Middle School.

Below is the letter that was sent to parents and caregivers:

Dear Parent/Guardian:

You are receiving this letter because you have a student who will be entering the 7th or 12th grade during the 2023-2024 school year or your student currently in 7th or 12th grade that is missing a required vaccine.  Students entering these grades must receive certain immunizations prior to the school year starting.  The immunization requirements for these students are as followed:


Prior to entry into the 7th grade, your child must receive:

  • Tdap (Tetanus, diptheria, pertussis) vaccination
    • This vaccination protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). 
  • Meningococcal vaccination
    • This vaccination protects against 4 of 5 types of meningococcal bacteria.


Prior to entry, your child must receive:

  • Meningococcal vaccine, and must have been 16 years old at the time of vaccination
    • This vaccination protects against 4 of 5 types of meningococcal bacteria.

A few vaccines that are recommended, but not required, are the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine known as Gardasil and the Meningococcal B vaccine.  Gardasil is recommended for both boys and girls ages 11-26, and is a two to three dose series depending on age of the child.  This vaccine can help protect your child against the viruses that cause certain types of cancers. Meningococcal B vaccine protects against group B meningococcal bacteria that accounts for nearly 25% of the meningococcal meningitis in the United States. This vaccine is available to students 16 and older. These two vaccines will only be available at Fayette County Public Health and an appointment can be scheduled by calling 740-335-5910. 

It is also recommended that your child receive a flu shot once a year.

We will be visiting area schools to offer school vaccinations before summer vacation.  Information was sent home to parents.  For more information, please contact Fayette County Public Health at 740-335-5910.  Thanks for letting us serve you and your family!

Thank You,

Fayette County Public Health

Division of Nursing