The RiverTree Jackson church is hosting an event this week to pray to protect local students, families and schools amid several recent suicides in the community.

Community members, students and families will gather 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the church in Jackson Township to pray and encourage a conversation about suicide prevention.

The event was prompted by the number of recent suicides within the Stark County community. The Perry Local School District recently suffered the loss of five students and one graduate.

Police in Perry and Jackson townships are handling the investigations and found there were multiple factors that prompted the students to take their own lives.

Perry Local Schools implemented the Signs of Suicide Prevention Program this past fall. The program is an effort to decrease the number of suicides by teaching students about depression and encouraging them to seek help for themselves or friends.

Scott Nelson, RiverTree Jackson’s campus pastor, and other community leaders are hoping the event will allow people to know that the church wants to be a source of hope.

“Jesus gives us the hope we need to carry on and the strength we need to make a positive difference,” Nelson said in a news release. “We want the entire community to gather with us to find comfort for the days and to discover a way to create a better future for our youth.”

Child care will not be available at the event.

The church is located at 7373 Portage St. NW.

For more information about the event, call 330-494-1860 or visit www.rivertreejackson.com.

Anyone needing immediate help can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Brandon Bounds can be reached at 330-996-3762 or bbounds@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Bounds at twitter.com/BrandonBounds_