This past weekend, I had the honor of walking in the Out of the Darkness walk though Delaware Park in Buffalo. I walked in memory of one of my closest friends who ended his life on earth just over a year and a half ago. Together, our team raised more than $13,000 to help raise awareness to mental health and help save just one more life from suicide.
Walking in the Out of the Darkness walk means that you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. Through the efforts of walkers and donors, the AFSP has been able to set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025, something that I believe they are totally capable of doing.
Today on World Suicide Prevention Day, make it your mission, not just today, but every day to take action and support a person who is struggling or in crisis. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, and we all know someone affected by it, myself included. While this is a cause that I have always supported, I never in a million years would have thought I would be able to relate to people surviving suicide loss. This is something none of us could ever be prepared for, but with the proper education and the normalization of mental health, it is something that we should never have to go through.
Start the conversation.
You can make a difference.
If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help right away. Call your doctor’s office. Call 911 for emergency services. Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.