NEWPORT — The 6th annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk took place on Saturday through downtown Newport, hosted by the Vermont chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Starting at Gardner Memorial Park at 10 a.m., this year 200 walkers raised around $17,000 for AFSP’s local and national education and advocacy programs.
The event in Newport continues to grow, this year attracting around 31 more participants and raising $1,200 more than last year.
The walk on Saturday was just one of more than 450 walks held nationwide this year.
Each year 44,193 Americans die by suicide. In 2015, 494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm. Many suicide attempts, however, go unreported or untreated.
Surveys suggest that at least one million people in the U.S. each year engage in intentionally inflicted self-harm.
“We walk to raise awareness about this important health issue,” said Linda Livendale, AFSP Vermont chapter board chair. “Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”
The group’s goal is to reduce the annual rate of suicide 20 percent by 2025.