SARATOGA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Suicide is the No. 12 leading cause of death in the United States, yet the tragedy can be prevented. This fall volunteers from throughout Northeastern New York are joining the quarter of a million people who are walking in towns across the United States to draw attention to the fight for suicide prevention.

The annual Northeastern New York Out of the Darkness Walks will held on:

  • September 18 — Lake Placid Horse Showground
  • September 25 — Orenda Pavilion in Saratoga Spa State Park
  • October 2 — Central Park in Schenectady
  • October 15 — Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, Hudson

These walks support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education and support programs, and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide by 20% by 2025.

“Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Sandra Goldmeer, CRNY Area Director.

These walks join more than 550 Out of the Darkness Overnight, Community, and Campus Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts. Last year, the events raised over $27 million for suicide prevention.

Last year, the Capital Region Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) came back from the pandemic and had live walks at all four locations, engaging close to 2,000 total walkers locally and raising over $250,000. This year’s goal is $350,000 and between all the walks 2,500 participants are expected.

Registration is free and there is no fundraising requirement. The event will include not only the walk but other awareness and memorial activities.

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better and our culture will get smarter about mental health. With the efforts of our courageous volunteers and a real investment from our nation’s leaders, we hope to significantly reduce the suicide rate in the United States.”

Online registration is open now, on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website.