Walking to bring others out of the ‘dark’

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24 years old: an age range that includes college-age students.

On Saturday, Sept. 11,  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) Indiana Chapter will be just one of the sponsors for the Out of the Darkness Walk in downtown Indianapolis.

Walk Co-Chair Dr. Kimble Richardson has been involved with the walk for five years.

He is the physician and referral liaison at the St. Vincent Stress Center.

“I got involved with the walk when Eli Lilly staff contacted many of the mental health organizations in town to form a committee and bring the walk to Indianapolis,” Richardson said.

He said, there may have been an unofficial Out of the Darkness Walk put on by Indiana University-Bloomington  students, but the official designation of the Out of the Darkness Walk was in 2006.

“It was brought to Indianapolis by Eli Lilly representatives of the Neurosciences division with the help of local health organizations,” Richardson said. “This was done to bring awareness and funding to local suicide prevention efforts.”

The walk is a sort of supplement to the Out of the Darkness Overnight, which is a national walk put on by the AFSP. It is an 18-mile walk through the night and will be in New York.

Richardson said the national walk was so popular that other communities around the country were willing to sponsor daytime walks, such as the one in Indianapolis.

The walk goes along the White River Canal from Celebration Plaza north to the Buggs Temple bend where there is a suicide memorial,   and back to the Celebration Plaza area, he said.

The walk is 3.1 miles long.

Every 16 minutes in the United States, someone dies by suicide, Richardson said.

More than 20 million people suffer from depression each year.

The AFSP’s mission is to understand and prevent suicide through research and advocacy.

“We’re bringing together friends, family members and loved ones whose lives have been touched by suicide or depression,” he said, “[We are] giving a voice to issues that have previously been kept in silence and an opportunity to reflect and share with others touched by this tragedy.”

Richardson said students who want to help the cause can register to walk, start a team, volunteer or decide to participate in the opening ceremony.

To register, go to outofthedarkness.org.

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