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Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Sept. 25 to Fight Suicide

SPRINGFIELD — Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S., yet suicide is preventable. More than 2,500 people from Greater Springfield are expected to participate in the annual Springfield Out of the Darkness Community Walk hosted by the Western Mass. chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) on Sunday, Sept. 25 at the MassMutual Center. This fund-raising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s local and national education and advocacy programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide by 20% by 2025.

“We walk to raise awareness about this important health issue. Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that, by walking, we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Kathleen Duquette, board chair of the AFSP Western Mass. chapter.

The Springfield walk is one of more than 375 Out of the Darkness Community Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 250,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide-prevention efforts. Last year, the walk raised more than $75,000 and drew nearly 2,000 participants.

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental-health conditions.”

Local sponsors for the Springfield Out of the Darkness Community Walk include the Pioneer Valley Coalition for Suicide Prevention, Health New England, Forastiere Smith Funeral & Cremation, and COBB of River Valley.

To register to walk or donate, visit afsp.org/springfieldma or call the AFSP Western. Mass. chapter at (413) 387-3770.

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