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"Out Of The Darkness" event held in Great Falls

Aims to raise awareness of suicide prevention
Posted at 6:29 PM, Sep 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 11:42:54-04

The "Out Of The Darkness" walk was held at Gibson Park in Great Falls; it was for anyone who advocates for suicide prevention, has lost someone to suicide, or who struggles with mental health.

"It's very, very rare for anyone in the state of Montana to not be affected by suicide in general, to not be affected by mental health. So I think that even though we may not want to recognize it publicly, we do need to see that we are affected, whether it's our coworkers, our friends, kids we are dealing with, we're really struggling and we need to know we're not alone,” explained Tiffany Sweeny, the chairwoman of the event.

The walks are organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; click here to visit their website .

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

The AFSP website states:

  • In 2017 (latest available data), there were 47,173 reported suicide deaths in the U.S.
  • Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • A person dies by suicide about every 12.8 minutes in the United States.
  • Every day, approximately 129 Americans take their own life.
  • Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • There are 3.54 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide.
  • 494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior, suggesting that approximately 12 people harm themselves (not necessarily intending to take their lives) for every reported death by suicide.

Also on Sunday, the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) celebrated their 16th year of “NAMI Walks” being the nation’s largest mental health awareness and fundraising event. September is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the 2019 NAMI walk in Helena was celebrated with friends, family, vendors, and other organizations in Memorial Park.

The 5K walk began with participants and volunteers making their way to Carroll College. A total of 437 people walked, separated into 45 teams, and walked in unison to advocate for mental health awareness.

About 56% of the NAMI Walk’s fundraising goals were met this year, with $84,000 raised toward their goal of $150,00.

NAMI spokesman Pete Aspinwall, told MTN News about the significance of the walk: “The whole idea behind the NAMI walk is to help dispel and lessen this whole idea of stigma that's been attached to mental illness, by making people much more aware of what mental illness is and what it is not.”

He continued, “The idea is to kind of squash stigmas as much as we can, to educate people about mental illness, and to make people aware of all of the organizations that are here to help.”

For more information on the NAMI organization and how to participate, click here to visit the website .