JAMESTOWN – Community members from all over the Chautauqua region are expected to participate in the upcoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Jamestown on Saturday, Sept. 24. The fundraising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) by helping support local suicide prevention and awareness programs right here in Chautauqua County.
The Jamestown Out of the Darkness Walk is one of hundreds of Out of the Darkness Community Walks being held across all 50 states this fall. The walks are expected to unite more than a quarter of a million walkers nationally and raise more than $15 million for suicide prevention efforts.
“We are so excited to announce that Jamestown City Mayor Samuel Teresi will be opening up the Walk this year, with a special proclamation and message,” said Ann Rosenthal, Public Relations Coordinator of Chautauqua Tapestry.
So far, over $18,000 has been raised for the walk by local business and community members. The goal for this year’s walk is to raise $30,000. This year’s sponsors include Jamestown Advanced Products; Cummins; Woman’s Christian Association of Jamestown; R-Patti Concrete & Excavating; Artone, LLC; Randolph Peaches N Cream; The Leone Family; John C Nelson Group; Family Health Medical Services, PLLC; Fessenden, Laumer, and Deangelo Attorneys at Law; Lake Shore Behavioral Health; Wegmans; Media One Group; and Randolph Auto Supply.
The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the local suicide awareness and prevention coalition within Chautauqua County, is organizing the walk with other local organizations including the Chautauqua County Early Identification and Recognition Program, Chautauqua Tapestry, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, and many passionate community members.
“The group is continually working on putting together trainings on topics of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention that will be available to local organizations, agencies, schools and community members,” said Victoria Patti, co-coordinator of the Community Alliance. “Our goal is to create a change in the way we currently look at suicide and eliminate the stigma surrounding the topic as a whole. We hope that the end result of increased education will be a reduction in the number of suicides in our community. The over-arching mission is to eliminate occurrences of suicide all together. Suicide has devastating effects on so many people. There needs to be better understanding regarding its causes and prevention. There is so much misinformation surrounding the topic of suicide and the underlying mental disorders that can sometimes lead to suicide. The Out of the Darkness Community Walk is aimed at raising awareness and eliminating that stigma.”
The Jamestown Out of the Darkness Community Walk will take place at Northwest Arena, formally known as the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and the walk beginning at 10 a.m. To register, go to www.outofthedarkness.org and click on find an event to search and register for the Jamestown Out of the Darkness Community Walk.
“After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death,” said Sarah Clark, Western New York Area Director of AFSP. “This fall, thousands will be walking to raise money for prevention and awareness, and offer hope to millions of people who have lost a loved one to suicide or who battle personally with depression, bipolar illness, addiction and other mental illnesses,” continued Clark.
About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy as well as to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. For more information please visit www.afsp.org.