Suicide Prevention Walk in Westport

DSC_1728Yesterday, Saturday October 11th, I took part in the AFSP 5K walk to raise money to train the people who answer crisis phone calls. It is a difficult job, and I admire those who manage the crisis hotline. It was a raw and bleak day, hence the AFSP t-shirt over the raincoat!

The crisis hotline, managed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,  takes calls from those who are contemplating suicide. It’s a tough word, suicide, especially when you know someone who was successful in completing the act. It costs $500 to train a new survivor of suicide support group facilitator.

DSC_1729The word “committed” is slowly being abandoned when used with suicides, because it refers back to a time when the act was deemed as criminal. It isn’t of course, it is a cry for help.

And for those of us who have lost family members to the act of suicide, it is a difficult death to grieve. We ask questions of ourselves, like, did I miss a sign, could I have prevented it, why couldn’t he/she talk to me about their feelings?

DSC_1769The “Out of the Darkness” walk in Westport, Connecticut yesterday was on the 24th anniversary of my own brother’s death by suicide. The pictures I took do not do justice to show you how large the crowd of sponsored walkers was.

It was heart wrenching to see people walk for “Team Abbey,” a 16 year old who ended her own life, and to see “RIP Tyler” on people’s t-shirts or “Karen” because it is a reminder that suicide has touched so many people’s lives.

Triangle Community Center's table at the Out of the Darkness walk for suicide prevention in Westport, CT on October 11, 2014.

Triangle Community Center’s table at the Out of the Darkness walk for suicide prevention in Westport, CT on October 11, 2014.

The most shocking revelation was that nearly 50% of transgender people will attempt suicide. For the young gay and lesbian population, that is a shocking statistic.

The Triangle Community Center had a table at the start of the walk and handed out flags, t-shirts and leaflets to make people aware of the crisis the transgender population faces.

DSC_1759

Meaghan Farrel sings at the Out of the Darkness Walk to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Westport, Connecticut.

Another shocking statistic came from Meaghan Farrel, the entertainment/singer who set us off to a good start for our walk. Her brother-in-law, who was a heroine addict, took his own life after leaving rehab. She mentioned that there needs to be a follow-up support system for those leaving rehab. Maybe there is? Honestly, I am shocked if there isn’t.

To all those who donated money and sponsored my participation in the walk, a BIG THANK YOU! If you still wish to contribute and you haven’t already you can do so until November the 11th by clicking here.

Thanks again for your donations. Here is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention link.

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