‘Out of Darkness’ walk aims to increase suicide awareness, prevention

More than 125 people from throughout Susquehanna County are expected to participate in the upcoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Sept. 7.
The fundraising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) by helping to support local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs.

The Susquehanna County Out of the Darkness Community Walk is one of more than 300 Out of the Darkness Community Walks (www.outofthedarkness.org) being held this fall nationwide. The walks are expected to unite more than 100,000 walkers nationally and raise more than $9.5 million for suicide prevention efforts.

“Much more needs to be done to prevent suicide. Yet, suicide and the underlying mental disorders that can sometimes lead to suicide continue to be surrounded by misinformation and stigma,” said Colleen Haberle, Chair of this inaugural Susquehanna County event. “This walk is about reducing that stigma, raising awareness and raising needed funds for research and local prevention programs.”

The Susquehanna County community walk is scheduled for Saturday, Sept, 7, 11 a.m., at the Montrose Area High School. The event will last until about 3 p.m.

According to AFSP, close to 700,000 people will make a suicide attempt requiring medical care and more than 38,000 will die by suicide in the U.S. every year.

“Despite the troubling statistics, an important goal of the walk is to stress that suicide can be prevented. The walk is also a call to action that more must be done to prevent suicide, nationally and in communities across the country,” said Robert Gebbia, executive director for the foundation.

“We know that the best way to prevent suicide is through the early recognition and treatment of the mental disorders that can contribute to suicide. Unfortunately, stigma about disorders such as depression, bipolar illness, and alcohol and substance abuse, keeps people from getting the treatment they need. It’s about bringing hope to those who have been affected by suicide,” he continued.

The Susquehanna County “Out of the Darkness” Community Walk is the first walk of its kind in Susquehanna County. With overwhelming support from businesses and the community alike, this inaugural event promises to bring people together for a singular cause.

You can view information, register a team or make a donation easily online at www.outofthedarkness.org.

Online registration closes at noon, Friday, September 6, 2013. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk. Please know that walk donations are accepted until Dec. 31.