LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, yet suicide is preventable. More than 2,500 people from throughout the Los Angeles area, and national singer Alex Boyé are expected to participate in the annual Greater Los Angeles Walk in Santa Monica hosted by the AFSP Greater Los Angeles and Central Coast chapter at 10 a.m., October 20 at the Santa Monica Pier. This community awareness and fundraising 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 20 percent by 2025.
"Everyone has a role to play. I want to encourage people to get involved. This is not a health issue that should be ignored or be too afraid to check in with those we care about. It's as easy as reaching out to a friend or family member who may need your support. Just listening can make a world of difference and encouraging help seeking if times are tough," said Alex Boyé, singer who will perform his new song Bend Don't Break during the opening ceremony at the event. Other speakers will include both a loss survivor and lived experience speaker.
The Greater Los Angeles Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Santa Monica is one of more than 420 Out of the Darkness Community Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 275,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts. With this walk last year, the AFSP Greater Los Angeles and Central Coast chapter raised more than $180,000 and had nearly 2,000 participants.
"As a result of the loss of my father to suicide in 1979 and my son's best friend this year, I was catapulted into a need to do something… anything to help bring mental illness literally "Out of the Darkness" and into the light. When I attended my first AFSP volunteer meeting I immediately knew I found the right fit as I was embraced by the community and felt this was an organization where I could tangibly make a difference," said Anastasia Johnson who will be speaking at the walk and is the volunteer walk chair for the Santa Monica Out of the Darkness walk with the AFSP Greater Los Angeles chapter.
Local sponsors for the Out of the Darkness Greater Los Angeles Walk include: the Dodgers, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Rams, GoGuardian, DeRubeis Fine Art of Metal, Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., Providence St. Joseph Health, Recovery Addiction Services, Rabbi Sara Berman, LightHopeLife, Callas Rennsport, and the LA Kings. Online registration closes at noon the Friday before the walk. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk from the time check-in begins until the walk starts.
Registration is free and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st. Check-in/Registration and resource fair begins at 8:45 am, the opening ceremony is at 10:00 am, the walk begins around 10:45 am and will end at 1:00 pm.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that's smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention