The Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health Authority, MeckCares and community partners are coming together to raise awareness about suicide during the upcoming Out of the Darkness Walk, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010. Mecklenburg County residents are encouraged to join thousands of people nationwide to raise awareness about how individuals can help save lives at the annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, every 15 minutes someone dies by suicide. It remains the 11th leading cause of death in the United States and, locally, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department estimates that suicide attempts and completions increased by more than 55% from April 2008 to April 2009. Also, the 2009 Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that more than one in every eight high school students in our community has attempted suicide.
Alice McGinley, event organizer and founder of HUGS (Healing and Understanding Grief from Suicide-a support group for those touched by suicide), lost her own teenage son to suicide. McGinley said recently, “We want to honor the lives lost in our community and instill hope in survivors. Ultimately, I hope the event will become a celebration of life with a goal to educate the community about suicide and to raise more than $30,000.00 to support research and training in this area, so that more parents do not have to face what we did in losing Danny.” Event planning partners include HUGS, Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health, and the Mental Health Association of the Central Carolinas.
The Out of the Darkness Community Walks are scenic walks with 220 communities participating this fall. Thousands of people throughout the country will walk to raise awareness and funds for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, increase national awareness about depression and suicide, and assist survivors of suicide loss. In addition, funds will be designated to help establish a youth suicide prevention training program.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg 3K walk will be held at the Charlotte Police and Fire Academy. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the walk begins at 10 a.m. Participants are welcome to bring a photo of their lost loved one for a special Memory Board. To donate and/or participate, log onto www.outofthedarkeness.org
MeckLINK is Mecklenburg County’s call center for referrals for mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services. If you or someone you know needs help with mental health/emotional concerns, or drug or alcohol abuse, please call MeckLINK: 704-336-6404 or visit mecklink.charmeck.org