US & Canada

Farmer promotes suicide prevention message in corn maze

A corn maze with the words "your life matters, talk about suicide" grown into the design Image copyright John Govin/Facebook

"Somebody loves you, somebody needs you to come home tonight."

US farmer John Govin says that's the message he hopes to send this year in a message etched in his annual corn maze.

On Wednesday Govin, who owns Govins Meats and Berries in Wisconsin, posted a picture on Facebook of the maze in one of his corn fields.

The message in it reads "your life matters, talk about suicide", which is displayed along with a suicide prevention hotline number.

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," he said.

On Facebook he explained: "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!"

Mr Govin says the maze is 10 acres (40,500 sq m) and was designed and created by Utah-based company The MAiZE.

"Just four men took between four and five hours to make it and the aerial picture was taken via drone footage. My friends who fly and live near the airport also took some pictures," he said.

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Mr Govin says he is moved by the responses the maze has received.

"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," he said.

On Facebook many commentators shared their appreciation for the creative message, posting how they had also been affected by suicide.

"Losing a brother to suicide was one of the hardest experiences, knowing you also have lost a loved one the same way is heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing and for making this maze!" commented one Facebook user.

Another posted: "This gave me chills! Our family has unfortunately had to deal with it multiple times. What an important message to get out! Your life matters! Thank you!"

The corn maze will officially open on September 21.

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