The Out of the Darkness Community Walk will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Laramie’s Washington Park.  Registration and check-in begins at 8 a.m. at the Otto Dahl Shelter.  The walk itself will go from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  There is no cost to attend, but the event is a fundraiser for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to fund suicide awareness and prevention.

Saturday will be the first time this event has been held in Laramie.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sponsors such events nationwide, with an estimated 200,000 people walking in 350 cities.  The Foundation’s website says that each year, “suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined, and yet suicide prevention doesn't get anywhere near the funding given to other leading causes of death.”

Throughout the United States, over 41,000 suicides were reported in 2013, which comes out to one suicide every 12.8 minutes.  In Wyoming, the most recent data shows suicide to be the 10th leading cause of death.  171 residents committed suicide in 2012, which makes Wyoming the state with the highest suicide rate in the country.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has set a goal of reducing the annual national suicide rate by 20 percent by the year 2025.  Out of the Darkness Community Walks, like the one in Laramie this Saturday, are the Foundation’s primary means of achieving that goal.

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