Friday, April 15, 2016

TGIF - Out Of The Darkness

Everyone who has read these pages knows that the subject of suicide prevention matters a great deal to me. I have fought that dragon personally, I have lost people I loved, and I have lost people I tried to help. It’s heartbreaking from every angle, and it impacts far more people than many people realize. According to the CDC, there were 41,149 deaths attributed to suicide in 2013, and a staggering 836,000 emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries. Worse, these numbers are roughly consistent with annual averages. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and there are actually worse numbers in other parts of the world.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is one of the largest non profit organizations in the world dedicated to awareness, education, and advocacy on the subject of suicide prevention, and their Out of the Darkness walks are among the most successful sources of raising both donations and awareness anywhere. The Overnight is their flagship walk, sixteen miles from dusk until dawn, rotated through different cities every year, with the walks for this year being in San Francisco on May 21 and New York on June 4. State chapters also host Campus and Community walks throughout the year, that are usually shorter than The Overnight but are also more easily accessible to more people.

The Out of the Darkness Community walk in Phoenix this year is scheduled for December 11 at Indian School Park in Downtown Phoenix (map), from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and I intend to be there. What I am trying to determine now is whether that will be as an individual, or as a team representing Frequently Interrupted. I would prefer to do the latter, but obviously I can’t do that on my own. That’s where you come in. We have time, clearly, but the idea is to do the fundraising between now and then, so the more time we allow for that, the more we can conceivably raise. I haven’t registered yet, but I will be doing so within the next couple weeks. That is not really a deadline, as we can add members or even change the registration type at any time before the event, but just so you know it’s coming.

The way this works is, everyone on the team gets their own fundraising page to use and share as you see fit, and your contributions are tracked both individually and toward a team goal. There are no registration fees of any kind, and no donations required, but we’ll be working together to raise what we can, both in donations and awareness. You can get more details about how it all works here and here. What I need to know is, are you interested? If you are local and want to participate in the Frequently Interrupted walking team, please let me know so I can begin making arrangements. You also don’t have to be local to help, so let me know either way.

The AFSP has set a goal of reducing suicide in the United States by 20% by 2025. That’s a pretty impressive goal, and these walks are a large part of how they intend to do it. Personally, I would love to be part of achieving that goal, and I hope you will join me. I look forward to your input, and thank you.

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