Suicide prevention walk set for Sunday

2010-09-16T22:05:00Z Suicide prevention walk set for SundayGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
September 16, 2010 10:05 pm  • 

The seventh annual Out of the Darkness community walk will be Sunday in Veterans Park, at 13th Street West and Poly Drive in Billings.

The walk is intended to raise awareness of and funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and for the Montana Chapter of the foundation.

Check-in and activities start at 12:30 p.m., with the 3-mile walk (and a quarter-mile optional walk) starting at 2. The event is free and raising money is optional, but everyone who raises $150 gets a T-shirt, and for each $40 a person raises by Sunday, he or she will get a raffle ticket for prizes donated by local businesses, artists and others.

There will also be a silent auction on the day of the walk. Volunteers at the event will include local high school Key Club members and nursing students from Montana State University Billings.

A press release from the local chapter of the AFSP said suicide is the fourth-leading cause of death for people 18 to 65 years old in the United States, and more than 34,000 Americans die by suicide every year.

One goal of the Montana chapter is to have the AFSP movie, “More Than Sad: Teen Depression,” shown widely in high school health classes. Funds raised at the walk will help buy copies of the film for school districts.

The chapter also has wristbands for students who watch the film. The wristbands bear the message: “Your life matters: 1-800-273-TALK,” which is the national crisis hotline available around the clock to everyone.

The Montana chapter of the AFSP is part of the Suicide Prevention Coalition-Yellowstone Valley, which has been meeting ever since the first Out of the Darkness walk in 2004.

Mental health professionals, school counselors, health department personnel, survivors of suicide loss, board members of the Montana chapter of AFSP and others meet on the third Monday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. at RiverStone Health, 123 S. 27th St.

The meetings are open to the public.

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