SPRINGFIELD – On Sept. 30 at the MassMutual Center, the local chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will host its 12th annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk.
This signature fundraising event is expected to raise $60,000 and draw hundreds of participants from across Western Massachusetts to raise money for suicide prevention, research and education. Locally, the walk is headed by Lisa Bullen of Hampden and Patricia Pupek of West Springfield.
AFSP is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide. Money raised will be used locally for prevention, survivor initiatives and educational programs. Since the beginning of these community walks, participants and sponsors have raised nearly $9 million for research and education.
"Suicide and mental illness take an enormous toll on families, friends and neighbors, leaving communities across the nation devastated by this national health problem," Robert Gebbia, executive director for AFSP, said.
This fall, the Out of the Darkness Community Walk will unite thousands of people with common goals of preventing suicide and ending the stigma that surrounds depression and mental illness. Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown are this year's Horary Chairmen.
Each year in the United States, close to one million people attempt suicide, and every 15 minutes someone will die. More than 34 million people suffer from depression or another mood disorder, affecting families, friends and neighbors.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens and young adults, and the second leading cause of death for college students. Additionally, Americans older than age 65 account for 16 percent of all suicides.
Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m. Contact Pat Pupek at 733-1378 or firstname.lastname@example.org