The Out of the Darkness Community Walk, a fundraising walk that supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention by helping to support local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs, will be held Saturday, Oct. 5, at Falconer Central School.
The Jamestown Out of the Darkness Walk is one of the nearly 250 walks being held this fall. The walks are expected to unite more than 100,000 walkers nationally and raise more than $7.5 million for suicide prevention efforts.
The walk is being organized by a local suicide awareness and prevention coalition within the county called The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The alliance is made up of members from various organizations such as Chautauqua Tapestry, Chautauqua County Mental Health, Compeer Chautauqua, WCA Hospital, Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. Mobile Crisis Team, Crisis Services, Hospice Chautauqua County, State University at Fredonia Social Work Program, The Resource Center, state Office of Mental Health, Mental Health Association, Early Identification and Recognition Program with Chautauqua County Mental Health, GA Family Services, CASAC and community members.
"The group is working on putting together a continuum of trainings on topics of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention that will be available to local organizations, agencies, schools and community members," said Lexy Baglia, member of the Community Alliance and board member for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "Our goal is to create a change in the way we currently look at suicide and eliminate the stigma surrounding the topic as a whole. The end result of this increased education being a reduction in the number of suicides in our community with an over-arching mission of eliminating them all together. Suicide has devastating effects on so many people. There needs to be better understanding regarding its causes and prevention. There is so much misinformation surrounding the topic of suicide, and the underlying mental disorders that can sometimes lead to suicide and this walk is aimed at raising awareness and eliminating that stigma."
The Jamestown community walk will take place at Falconer Central School at 9:30 a.m. and end at noon. To register, visit www.outofthedarkness.org and go to the Jamestown walk page.
It is estimated that close to 1 million Americans make a suicide attempt, more than 36,000 die by suicide, and more than 20 million suffer from depression each year.
"Every 14 minutes someone dies by suicide in the U.S.," said Robert Gebbia, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention executive director. "This fall, thousands will be walking to raise money for prevention and awareness, and offer hope to millions of people who have lost a loved one to suicide or who battle personally with depression, bipolar illness, addiction and other mental illnesses."