The Yellowstone Valley chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention held an Out of the Darkness Walk that focused on suicide prevention at Veterans Park in Billings Sunday.
"The out of the darkness walk is the largest fund raiser for what the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention does in Montana," said Out of the Darkness Walk Co-chair Erin Bratsky Sunday.
The Yellowstone Valley chapter exceeded its fund raising goal this year. Pushing past its $110,000 goal by bringing in around $120,000. That's not counting the money that was raised in a silent auction and other activities before the walk started.
Bratsky said that all the money raised stays in Montana to fund research, educational programs, and survivor support operated by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
"The money that’s raised here can go right back in the community in terms of education and evidence based programming," Bratsky said. "And that’s free to the community."
Bratsky said free educational programming for businesses, employees, and any other group can be found by contacting the Montana Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
In addition to being the Out of the Darkness co-chair, Bratsky is also a licensed clinical professional counselor that works in the Billings area.
Education is important when it comes to recognizing behaviors linked to suicidal tendencies, Bratsky said.
This is the fifteenth year the Out of the Darkness Walk has been held in Billings. When the walk was first organized in Billings in 2004, about 25 cities around the country were holding similar walks. In 2019 that number has ballooned to over 400.