Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“In Garfield County this year, 15 people have died by suicide, yet we believe suicide can be prevented,” Mason Hohstadt, chairman of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Garfield County, said in a press release.
Hohstadt and other local suicide prevention advocates invite the public to join this Saturday in the first Western Slope Out of the Darkness Community Walk — one of several such walks across the country that day to bring attention to suicide prevention.
The walk, which raises money for suicide prevention efforts, takes place at 10 a.m. (registration at 9 a.m.) at Sayre Park, 1720 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs. Pets are not allowed in Sayre Park, but people can meet up with them along the route, according to event organizers. The walk will proceed to Two Rivers Park and back.
The walk is intended to support the AFSP’s education and support programs and the organization’s goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20% by the year 2025.
“Suicide touches one in five American families,” said Hohstadt, who is co-chairing the local event sponsored by Grand River Health. “We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”
The Western Slope Walk is one of more than 550 Out of the Darkness Overnight, Community and Campus Walks being held nationwide this year to raise money for suicide prevention efforts. Last year, these walks raised over $21 million for suicide prevention, according to AFSP.
“The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better and our culture will get smarter about mental health,” AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia said in the release. “With the efforts of our courageous volunteers, and a real investment from our nation’s leaders, we hope to significantly reduce the suicide rate in the United States.”