September is National Suicide Prevention Month and events are held every year by multiple organizations.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) holds multiple walks all around the United States throughout the entire month.
The title of these walks is “Out of the Darkness” to symbolize the overcoming of suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
The AFSP’s goal of these walks is to advocate for suicide loss victims and create educational programs to better understand suicide and what causes it.
This year in Erie, the Out of the Darkness walk is taking place this upcoming Saturday, Sept. 28th at the Presque Isle State Park Rotary Pavilion.
The Erie walk begins at 11:00 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m.. Participants are welcome to register online at the AFSP website, afsp.org/erie, and in person at the time of the walk.
However, online registration closes Sept. 27 at noon. Anyone is able to participate in the walk and to show up to support.
Donations are welcome to meet the AFSP’s goal of $32,000 by the end of the year.
As of this past Saturday, the site indicated that the goal has only been filled up to the 1/3 mark.
Donations from this event are being accepted until the end of December 2019. In addition to donations, anyone is allowed to become a sponsor and the information packet can also be found on the AFSP website.
The Mercyhurst Social Work Club is attending the walk as well. Along with participating, they will have a display table with information and activities before the walk begins.
They are encouraging everyone to participate in this event. Mercyhurst students and faculty are encouraged to wear their Mercyhurst apparel to represent the school and its moves to support this event.
Dr. Tami Micsky, one of the advisors for the club and an Applied Sociology and Social Work professor on campus stated, “Students should consider participating because the walk brings attention to a problem that effects young adults, including college students. It is the second largest cause of death in ages 15 to 34.”
Honor beads will also be worn at this event. This is something the AFSP does for people walking in the event who have lost someone to suicide or has someone close to them struggling with a mental illness.
There are nine different colored beaded necklaces, each with a different significance. For example, if someone is wearing a red bead, it means that they have lost their spouse or partner to suicide. Other colors include white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, silver and teal.
If you participate in the walk, you are welcome to wear one of these beads to show your support to those whose lives have been taken away due to mental health issues and/or suicide.
For more information on the Erie Out of the Darkness walk, feel free to contact Nicole Moore at her email firstname.lastname@example.org or to register for the event and walk with our Social Work Club, register through https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.team&teamID=220322 .