HARRISBURG, Pa.-- September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Pennsylvania, and the 10th in the Unites States.
On Saturday, September 8 over one thousand people will join in on the efforts in raising funds and awareness for suicide prevention at the Out of the Darkness Walk at City Island in Harrisburg. Organizers say the walk is for people to come together and spread hope.
The money raised by donors and walkers will go to the AFSP. That money is then divided up for research, education, out reach programs, advocacy, and more.
The President of the local AFSP chapter, Ashley McSweeney says the walk is for everyone.
"It's for individuals who have lost someone to suicide, individuals who have attempted to take their life, individuals who are emotionally struggling or people who support someone that is struggling as well."
The walk is scheduled to take place rain or shine at City Island in Harrisburg, starting near the soccer fields and ending at the Walnut Street Bridge. Registration is free, and you can register online until Friday or in person at the event. Registration begins at 1:00 p.m., with the walk starting around 3:00 p.m.
The Out of the Darkness Harrisburg walk is in its 13th year, with a goal of raising $110,000. When it first started the walk only had a few hundred participants and a fundraising foal of $10,000.
She says the walk has grown so much over the years, with the community and everyone involved to thank for that and one way they try to establish a connection between participants is through beads.
"The beads show that whatever you are struggling with, you are not alone," says McSweeney.
- White, lost a child
- Red, lost a spouse or partner
- Gold, lost a parent
- Orange, lost a sibling
- Purple, lost a relative or friend
- Silver, lost first responder/military
- Green, struggles personally
- Blue, support the cause
- Teal, friends and family of someone who struggles
Early Wednesday morning started out with just over $71,000 raised, and in just a few hours that number went up to $72, 923! Although the walk is Saturday you have until December 31 to help them reach their goal. For more information on the walk, how to register, and donate visit their website.
You are not alone, if you are struggling and need to talk to someone help is always available. The suicide prevention lifeline is available 24/7. It is free, and confidential. You can call the suicide prevention life line at 1-800-273-8255, or text "Talk" to 741741.