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JCC, AFSP team up for Out of the Darkness Community Walk

SPRINGFIELD — On Oct. 2, at the Jewish Community Center, the local chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will host their 10th annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk.
This signature fund-raising event is expected to raise $75,000, and draw hundreds of participants from across Western Massachusetts to raise money for suicide prevention, research and education.
The local fund-raising effort 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.
Each year in the United States, close to one million people attempt suicide, and every 16 minutes someone will die. More than 34 million people suffer from depression or another mood disorder, affecting our 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 the age of 65 account for 16 percent of all suicides.
Registration for the Oct. 2 walk begins at 8:45 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. Contact Bullen at 566-5046 or ylbullen6@gmail.com or contact Pupek at 733-1378 or patpupek@comcast.net for details.
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