LAKE PLACID - The North Country Out of the Darkness Community Walk will be held Sunday on the Olympic Speedskating Oval on Main Street.
The walk benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
"Suicide is a public health problem affecting many people in our community. It is estimated that 60 percent of us will personally know someone who has died by suicide and 20 percent of us will lose a close family member to suicide," Laura Marx, area director said. "Often, we hear survivors of suicide loss and attempt survivors say that they feel alone and isolated. This is an opportunity for them to connect with others who have had a shared experience."
Event organizers estimated that 1.1 million Americans make a suicide attempt and more than 38,000 people die by suicide each year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens, young adults and college students.
Many of those particpating in Sunday's walk are survivors of suicide loss, who walk in memory of their loved one who has died by suicide. They hope to increase awareness and reduce the stigma that surrounds suicide and mood disorders, and to raise the funding necessary to support programs and services of the local chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Among other groups, organizers work to engage students in the walk.
"Ninety percent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental illness at the time of their death," Deb Jerdo, co-chair of the North Country Out of the Darkness Walk, said. "In adolescents, this is most often depression. Our hope is that through community awareness events, such as the walk, people will be encouraged to talk openly about how they feel, they will begin to feel comfortable seeking help and they will know where they can go to get the help they need. Awareness, education, and talking openly about suicide is how we will save lives. We must bring this topic 'out of the darkness' and into the light. Remember when cancer and alcoholism were hidden and not spoken about? Now people are no longer afraid to talk about these once-feared subjects and know where to find help. That is our hope with suicide."
The walk is open to anyone in the community and is a family-friendly event. There will be fun activities for children, a Remembrance Board to sign, 50/50 drawing, raffle, music, refreshments, and a walk around Mirror Lake. There is no registration fee but participants are encouraged to raise money.