In the United States, a person dies by suicide every 15 minutes, claiming more than 36,000 lives each year, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute, with close to one million people attempting suicide annually.
Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. among adults 18-65, the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults, and individuals ages 65 and older account for 16 percent of all suicide deaths.
The AFSP funds research aimed at improving our understanding of suicide and ways to prevent it as well as educational programs to increase awareness about prevention, warning signs and the psychiatric illnesses that can lead to suicide.
Suicide is a national health problem that takes an enormous toll on family, friends, co-workers, and the entire community. AFSP provides opportunities for survivors of suicide loss to get involved through a wide variety of educational, outreach, awareness, advocacy and fundraising programs.
Each year, AFSP sponsors Out of the Darkness community walks across the country. These walks “raise awareness and funds for research and educational programs to increase awareness about prevention, warning signs and the psychiatric illnesses that can lead to suicide,” Vicki Long of Rollins College said. “We walk to honor our love ones lost by suicide and instill hope in survivors.”
"I like to think of it as a Celebration of Life and to get rid of the stigma associated with mental illness,” Long explained. “The more people we have walking and who have donated the more people are aware of the importance of the Mission of AFSP and to let people know that yes, the pain is deep and let them know they are not alone in what they are going through”
Long stressed an important fact: “At least 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illnesses -- such as major depression, bipolar depression, or some other depressive illness.”
You can help. Visit the Orlando Out of the Darkness Community Walk website. There, you can join a team, create your own team, or simply make a donation if you are unable to attend.
Registration at the walk is from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm and the walk begins at 9:125 am. If you have any questions, please call Vicki Long at 407-646-2227 or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.