JAMESTOWN, N.Y. − Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, yet suicide can be prevented. Volunteers from Chautauqua County are joining the quarter of a million people who are walking in towns across the United States to draw attention to the fight for suicide prevention.
The annual Jamestown Out of the Darkness Walk, hosted by the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention will be held on October 5 at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, 410 N. Main St. in Jamestown. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and opening remarks and the walk begin at 10 a.m. Those who are unable to participate in the walk are invited to stop in to make a donation or purchase baked goods, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) merchandise, a ticket for the basket raffle, or local suicide prevention resources. This walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education and support programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide by 20 percent by the year 2025.
“Suicide touches one in five American families,” said Victoria Patti, Coordinator of the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”
The Jamestown Out of the Darkness Walk is one of more than 550 Out of the Darkness Overnight, Community, and Campus Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts. Last year, these walks raised over $21 million for suicide prevention. Last year, the Jamestown walk raised over $20,730 and had 265 registered participants. The money raised is used to support local suicide prevention and education efforts through the Western New York Chapter of the AFSP.
“The Western New York Chapter is proud of the strong partnership and the efforts of the Jamestown walk organizers each year,” said Missy Stolfi, Area Director of the Western & Central New York Chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “We are grateful for the opportunity to reinvest these funds raised in programs and resources for the Chautauqua County community throughout the year. I sincerely thank each and every supporter of the Jamestown Out of the Darkness Walk for helping us make an impact in preventing suicide deaths and providing hope and healing to those affected by loss.”
“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better and our culture will get smarter about mental health. With the efforts of our courageous volunteers, and a real investment from our nation’s leaders, we hope to significantly reduce the suicide rate in the United States.”
Local sponsors for the Jamestown Out of the Darkness Walk include the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the Raynor Memorial Tournament, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, Chautauqua Tapestry, Colecraft, Wegmans, Nick Johnson Construction, Niteline Magazine, and the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.