Thousands of people from Hampton Roads are expected to participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk Series taking place in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
In its 13th year, the Hampton Roads Out of the Darkness Walk has expanded from two walks in 2016 to four walks in 2017, also hosting walks in Newport News and Suffolk in September.
“We heard from walkers that they wanted a more intimate walk and a better opportunity to connect with other survivors in their communities,” said Crystal Graham, Virginia Area Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “We are fortunate to have a wonderful team of local volunteers planning memorable and healing walks in locations that should be more accessible.”
The Hampton Roads Out of the Darkness Walks this Fall include …
The fundraising walk supports suicide prevention education, outreach and healing to the Hampton Roads community including local Survivor Days. To date this year, AFSP has delivered 44 education, outreach and trainings in Hampton Roads alone, with more than 2,200 people served. Prevention education programs include AFSP and/or LivingWorks programs including Talk Saves Lives, More than Sad, It’s Real: College Students and Mental Health, safeTALK, ASIST and Mental Health First Aid. The chapter earned top honors at the AFSP National Conference for delivering the most programs in the 2016 calendar year among 84 chapters nationwide.
“We are glad to be able to deliver programming in Hampton Roads that teach people warning signs and risk factors to prevent suicide,” said Eric Peterson, AFSP Virginia Chapter Board Member, Norfolk Walk Chair and Vice President of the Sarah Michelle Peterson Foundation based in Norfolk. “When people choose to walk with us or businesses choose to sponsor or form teams, we are showing the world that we are a suicide-safe community, and we will find a way together to put an end to suicide.”
AFSP has a bold goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide 20 percent by 2025.
“Suicide affects one in five American families. I am walking to bring awareness to this leading cause of death and let people in the community know that they are not alone,” said Elena Glinter, Chair of the Virginia Beach Walk and an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy. “There is help out there for those who live with a mental health condition and support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.”
For more information on the entire Hampton Roads walk series or to register as a team or individual, visit afsp.org/HamptonRoads