WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – Volunteers from Jefferson and Lewis Counties are joining the thousands of people who are gathering in towns across America to promote suicide prevention.

Volunteers Gather Together to Fight Suicide at the Jefferson/Lewis Out of the Darkness Walk on September 17 in Watertown

“This year we want people to join us in walking to create a world without suicide,”

AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States yet it is completely preventable. The annual Jefferson/Lewis Out of the Darkness Community Walk, hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Greater Central New York Chapter will be held on Sunday, September 17, at 11 a.m. at Thompson Park in Watertown.

Registration and event activities will start at 11 a.m., with the opening ceremony for the walk beginning at 12:15 p.m. and the walk will begin immediately after the brief ceremony.

“By walking you are helping us make progress through research, advocacy, education and support to those affected by suicide. And you are improving our understanding of mental health, and how to be there for each other when someone is struggling. I’m in awe of our courageous volunteers who are lifting their voices to inform local and national leaders of the support needed to reduce suicide and save lives.”

AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia.

The walk will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education, research and survivor support programs. In addition to raising awareness and funds to prevent suicide, the walks give attendees a chance to connect with others and know they are not alone, whether they walk in memory or in support of a loved one or in honor of their own mental health journey. Funds raised from this event will help fund research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support survivors of loss, including in the Greater Central New York area.

“Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by connecting with one another, 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,”

Karen Heisig, Area Director, Greater Central NY Chapter of AFSP

Local sponsors for the community walk include Mirabito, Tunes 92.5/104.5, the Mental Health Association in Jefferson County, Pivot and Renzi Foodservice.

To donate or join this event, you can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

If you or someone you know is thinking of harming themselves, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free support at 1-800-273-8255. U.S. residents can also be connected to the Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or chating at 988lifeline.org. For more about risk factors and warning signs, visit the organization’s official website.