More than 1,000 survivors of suicide and mental health advocates came together to participate in the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) annual Out of the Darkness Walk on Sunday, Nov. 4 at Piedmont Park.
AFSP Atlanta raised more than $97,000 for suicide prevention research, education and advocacy – a number that will continue to grow as participants raise funds through the end of the year.
See the photo gallery of the event from photographer Lou Raimondi with this story.
To recognize the rising rate of suicide among active-duty military and veterans, the Georgia Tech Army ROTC led the ninth annual walk in uniform, and a Bugles Across America performer played Taps during the closing ceremony.
“This was our biggest walk in the nine years that we’ve hosted this event,” Chris Owens, area director for AFSP Atlanta, said in a news release. “It was extremely meaningful to see so many of Atlanta's survivors of suicide come together to heal, celebrate and remember.”
Nationally, every 14 minutes someone takes his/her own life, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death in America. In Georgia, more than 1,000 citizens die by suicide each year, causing suicide rates to surpass those of homicide. Out of the Darkness raises the funds necessary to support metro Atlanta prevention efforts, advocacy programs and survivor outreach.
The walk also featured live local music by Tim McNary and Carl Dylan, an appearance by Homer the Brave and a dove release. Local sponsors included The Johnny Foundation, the Will to Live Foundation and Behavioral Health Link.
AFSP is the leading national nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. As one of the nation’s leading AFSP chapters, the Metro Atlanta Chapter hosts local education, awareness, advocacy and fundraising events in central Georgia. Learn more about the metro Atlanta chapter by visiting www.afsp.org/atlanta or following @AFSP_ATL on Twitter.
- AFSP Atlanta contributed to this story