A local suicide prevention group invites you to help lead our community and its residents “Out of the Darkness” by participating in a suicide prevention walk.
The Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk will be held on Sept. 17 at the Wellston Trail in Warner Robins near Fountain Park. Check-in time is at 8:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 1 p.m.
Heather Prunty, of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Central Georgia, says that the one of the goals of the walk is education.
“There is a stigma attached to talking about suicide,” Prunty said. “We want to bring it to the attention of school, communities, church, and educate people on the signs and symptoms of suicide as well as ways to prevent it.”
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The walk itself is a form of education since volunteers from different organizations such as the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill, Department of Family and Children Services and Houston Medical Center will be on hand with information about suicide prevention.
As a health care professional, Prunty has had the unfortunate opportunity to witness people in various stages of considering suicide — from an actual overdose victim coming into an emergency room to someone who was planning suicide or thinking about it.
“It is not just a family situation, it is a community situation,” Prunty said. “People don’t know where to turn. They are afraid to talk about it, don’t know how to handle it. We want to increase the help the community provides and educate people.”
That education includes how to spot signs and symptoms displayed by people considering suicide.
“The signs are not all the same with everybody, but there are things we can all pay close attention to and watch for,” Prunty said.
According to statistics gathered by Emory University, about 35,000 people commit suicide in the United States each year — about half the number of people murdered in the nation each year. About 850,000 attempt suicide each year. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people ages 25-34 and the third-leading cause of death among people ages 15-24.
Emory’s report includes information about depression — a risk factor for suicide. Two-thirds of people who die by suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths.
Online registration for the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk ends Sept. 16, but those wishing to participate who did not register online can do a walk-up registration on the day of the race.