WALKERS TO BRING SUICIDE PREVENTION FOCUS TO NATION’S CAPITAL
February 6, 2013 – Washington D.C. – More than 2,000 people are expected to participate in a 16 to 18-mile walk aimed at raising funds and awareness for suicide prevention. The event called the Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk is organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and is scheduled to take place in Washington D.C. on June 1st starting at sunset and ending at sunrise the next morning.
Organizers hope that by bringing this event to the nation’s capital that it will elevate a national conversation about suicide prevention as well as motivate leaders to take more action regarding this serious public health problem.
According to AFSP close to one million people will make a suicide attempt and more than 38,000 will die by suicide in the U.S. this year. Of particular concern is the increase of suicide among military personnel and veterans.
“Despite these troubling statistics, it is important to remember that suicide can be prevented,” 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 substance abuse, keeps people from getting the treatment they need to get better. The Overnight is about eliminating that stigma. It’s about bringing hope to those who have been affected by suicide. And its aim is to raise much needed funds and awareness for suicide prevention” he said.
Most of the participants get involved because they have been diagnosed with a mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder or because they have lost someone they know to suicide.
The Overnight walk is expected to net more than $1 million for scientific research, education and prevention programs, advocacy initiatives, and outreach programs directed toward those needing support after a suicide.
Those interested in participating in The Overnight can learn more and register by visiting www.theovernight.org or by calling 888-The-Overnight (888-843-6837). To learn more about suicide and common warning signs and risk factors visit www.afsp.org