A year after a star college baseball player took his own life, his grieving father wants to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
On September 16, at the end of National Suicide Prevention Week, John Conrad Regional Golf Course in Midwest City will host an inaugural tournament in Dalton Viner's honor, and all the proceeds will help Oklahomans who are suffering in silence.
Terry Viner wants to change the world. That is his wish for his son's legacy.
Terry does not know the exact moment depression struck Dalton because his future seemed so promising. As a college baseball player, he was being recruited by major league teams. Then, one day in September 2015, he disappeared.
“Honestly,” Terry recalls, "it scared us to death because we had no conversation. No texts. No calls for days."
Dalton was gone a week before coming home. That was when he revealed his inner struggles with anxiety and depression. Terry tried to get his son counseling, medication, and more, but it was not enough.
“When I was 21,” Terry said, “22 years old, a young male thinks that you don't need help. You're almost invincible, but, in reality, that's just a charade and a way of hiding it.”
After Dalton's death in May 2016, Terry learned the staggering statistics. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports in Oklahoma, a person commits suicide every 11 hours. It is the second leading cause of death for Oklahomans aged 10 to 34.
Terry now hopes raising money for suicide prevention could make a difference, donating all the proceeds from the golf tournament to the Oklahoma chapter of AFSP. He and Dalton's friends also plan to have fun in his honor while they are at it. He says, “If we can help support one person, then I think we’ve helped, and we’re going to continue to keep going forward.”
If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, there is help right now. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or send a text to 741-741. For more information and statistics, click here.