Culture and Trends ›

Bread Tie Challenge Raises Suicide Awareness

The Spokesman-Review

Bread Tie Challenge Raises Suicide Awareness

At the University of Central Washington, two seniors are starting a tradition in honor of their friend Joshua Martin, who died by suicide in 2011.

To keep his memory alive and spark conversations about suicide, Donnie Santos and Dean Neilson are wearing twist ties from bread bags as rings during October, and they're encouraging others to follow suit. Santos told, "When people ask you about the bread tie, we want you to have the opportunity to tell people what it's about and spread awareness." Santos and Neilson hope to erase the stigma surrounding discussions about suicide and make it easier for people like Martin to get help. “We want these bread ties to show that it is OK to not be OK,” said Neilson in an interview with The Spokesman-Review. “It is OK to talk to your family, talk to a friend, go get help. Talking really, really does help.”

The challenge began, according to, with Martin's father, who was inspired by the success of the ice bucket challenge to benefit the ALS Association. Joe Martin wanted to do something similar for mental illness and suicide prevention.

The challenge is picking up momentum through its Facebook group, Bread Tie Challenge, and Instagram feed. Anyone can participate, and organizers are encouraging others to send in photos showing their bread ties and tagging the images with #BreadTieChallenge.

Spread the word among your friends this month to join in the challenge, keep the conversation going about suicide prevention, and raise awareness about mental health and depression.