Out of the Darkness Walk shines light on suicide prevention

Out of the Darkness Walk shines light on suicide prevention

Katelyn DeAgro, Staff Writer

The non-profit organization the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will be leading the Out of the Darkness Walk on October 11 at the Sherwood Island Park. The goal of the walk is to raise money for AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide nation-wide.

“I’ve done this sort of walk before and have always met amazing and inspirational people,” Max Rothstein ’17 said.

Suicide claims more than 39,000 lives every year in the United States alone, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report. With an attempt made every minute, suicide hits everyone regardless of social class, gender, age or ethnicity.

“These numbers reaffirm the need to devote further resources and time to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide so people will access interventions that have been proven to reduce suicidal ideation and behavior,” Christine Moutier, M.D. and Chief Medical Officer of the AFSP, said.

AFSP is a foundation that funds research in understanding suicide and developing ways to prevent it.  Additionally, AFSP educational programs teach the warning signs and illnesses that may lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. “At AFSP we advocate for greater investment in suicide prevention research and education in schools, communities, workplace and families,” Moutier said.

Eighty-two percent of the money donated goes to expenses supporting the research, while the lean 17.9 percent goes toward its management and funding. Currently, AFSP is funding 4.5 million dollars on the research of genetic, behavioral and biological factors attributed to suicide. In addition to funding a one million dollar research study examining intervening in the area of short-term risk of suicide and early prediction, an understudied area of suicide risk

The AFSP leads three different walks every year: The community walk, the campus walk and the overnight walk.

The community walk is what is occurring on October 11 at Sherwood Park, where friends and families will walk 3 miles to raise awareness and money.

“I’m walking because it’s a great cause. When suicide is the cause for so many deaths every year, we need to take notice and to try and stop it,” said Max Rothstein.