In 2012, AFSP’s signature fundraising event drew more than 100,000 participants to 275 walks and raised $8 million for local and national suicide prevention programs. The funds will be used to support suicide prevention research, local prevention and educational programs, advocacy and survivor of suicide loss programs in walk communities.
Since 2004, the first year for these walks, these events have grown from 25 walks with 4,000 participants to today’s significant walk campaign to raise awareness and funds for the cause.
With over 50 new walks this year, the number of community walks continues to grow, thanks to the dedication of participants, volunteers, staff and donors nationwide.
“Suicide takes an enormous toll on families, friends and neighbors, leaving communities across the country devastated by this national health problem,” AFSP Executive Director Robert Gebbia said. “The Out of the Darkness Community Walks unite thousands of people with common goals, preventing suicide and ending the stigma that surrounds depression and other mental disorders.”
Many event participants walk because they, a friend or family member, suffer from a mental disorder that puts them at risk for suicide, or they have lost someone to suicide. Community walks are organized by dedicated local volunteers and average three miles in length. While there is no minimum fundraising requirement for these walks, participants are encouraged to raise at least $150 for the cause.
For more information and to register for a 2013 Out of the Darkness Community Walk, go to OutOfTheDarkness.org.