A farmer in America has crafted a beautiful suicide prevention message into his corn maze in the hope it will spread a message of hope to those who most need it.
Farmer John Govin designs a special corn maze every year, which has become a popular attraction for residents in the Chippewa Valley.
The farmer, who owns Govins Meats and Berries in Wisconsin, posted a picture of the maze on social media on Wednesday (July 31), which reads ‘your life matters, talk about suicide’.
Each year, the family choose themes which are close to their hearts and this year was no different. The 55-year-old told the BBC he came up with the idea after a family member took their own life in January.
Every year we do something with the maze that has meaning for our family. One year we did something for my mother who had Alzheimer’s, another time it was boy scout themed.
We came up with the idea on the way to a funeral of a family member who died from taking their own life.
The farmer said the maze is 10 acres and was designed and created by The MAiZE company, which is based in Utah. He explained how four men took between four and five hours to make, with the aerial picture being taken via drone footage.
Govin posted the picture on social media earlier in the week, writing:
Suicide was something we unfortunately had to face and learn about. We hope to make a difference in someone’s life and help them understand that they matter!
Many responded to the picture, showing their appreciation for the hopeful message and sharing their own stories of how they had also been affected by suicide.
One person said losing a brother to suicide was ‘one of the hardest experiences’ before thanking the farmer for sharing and making the maze.
Another said ‘this gave me chills’ before adding their family had also experienced suicide of a loved one ‘multiple times’ and thanking the farmer for sending out the ‘important’ message.
The 55-year-old said he has been moved by the overwhelmingly positive response the maze has received, adding: ‘I’m a simple farmer in the US heartland but I’m proud to be able touch the lives of so many people with this message. One single picture has made such an impact’.
The corn maze will officially open on September 21
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58, and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).