Greater Springfield Out of the Darkness Walk Marks 20 Years of Fighting Suicide

AGAWAM — Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in young people in Western Mass., yet suicide can be prevented.

For the 20th year, walkers and volunteers from Greater Springfield will be joining the quarter-million people who are walking in towns across the U.S. to draw attention to the suicide-prevention fight.

The Greater Springfield Out of the Darkness Walk, hosted by the Massachusetts chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), will be held on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 8:30 a.m. at School Street Park in Agawam. This walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education and support programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. suicide rate by 20% by 2025.

“Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that, by walking, 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,” said Kate Eisenberg, chair of the AFSP Massachusetts board of directors.

The Greater Springfield Out of the Darkness Walk is one of more than 550 walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide-prevention efforts. Last year, these walks collectively raised more than $21 million for suicide prevention.

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia said. “The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better, and our culture will get smarter about mental health. With the efforts of our courageous volunteers and a real investment from our nation’s leaders, we hope to significantly reduce the suicide rate in the United States.”

To register to walk, visit www.afsp.org/springfieldma. For more information, contact Heather White, AFSP Massachusetts area director, at (413) 387-3770 or hwhite@afsp.org.