Grace Cavanaugh, Staff Writer~
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is sponsoring the Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk this Saturday, October 6th. It will be the fourth time the walk is held in Lynchburg. The walk will be held at Riverfront Park, and check in begins at 9:00 a.m.
The Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk is an event to bring awareness to one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. Unfortunately, as the age group lowers, so does the number of deaths.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), “suicide is the second leading cause of death in children between the ages of 10-14.” “Each year, close to 45,000 Americans will commit suicide, and for every success there are 25 attempts,” says the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
There are many risks and factors that determine whether a person is suicidal, including but not limited to mental and physical health, medication side effects, and family history of suicide. According to AFSP statistics, “males are more likely to commit suicide than females.” The Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk aims to bring awareness to statistics like these in order to help stop suicides.
In a University-wide email, Merrill Tolbert said, “Anne Gibbons and I started a Lynchburg College team, the first year of the walk in Lynchburg (3 years ago). I personally committed to this cause in memory of my son, Carey.”
According to Tolbert, there are already organizations signed up for the walk, including Alpha Phi Omega, as well as the School of Education graduate counseling program. Individuals across the campus are welcome to participate and encouraged to join the walk as part of the University of Lynchburg. Tolbert is acting as the team captain for the University’s team along the three mile trail in Riverfront Park.
The trail for the walk is paved, and is stroller and wheelchair accessible. Dogs are also allowed to join the walk. Children over the age of 13 are required to register and must have an adult with them. The actual walk will begin by 10:30 a.m., and it is estimated that the trail will take an hour to complete.
Participants who are unable to walk may also volunteer or donate in the memory of a loved one. As of September 30th, $37,269 have been donated, with a goal of $45,000.
The Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk will end at 12:00 p.m., but donations are accepted until December 31st. Joan Rosin and Dean Adams, organizers of Lynchburg’s Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk, invite those planning to participate please register before Friday, October 5th, online at https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=5529.