Rosemount college’s Lions helps issue of suicide emerges Out of Darkness

Group raises money for suicide prevention efforts

The Dakota County Technical College Lions Club raised money this week in advance of the Out of Darkness Community Walk on Sunday, Oct. 14, in St. Paul.

The walk aims to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which supports local and national suicide prevention awareness programs.

During the four-day Lions fundraiser, two large “piggy banks” were designed and decorated – one by a team of women Lions members and the other by men in the group.

One Lions Club member whose family had been affected by suicide helped organize the benefit.

After telling her story, club adviser Brett Kolles said the group wanted to help out in any way it could.

“No one should go through the pain survivors of suicide go through,” Kolles said. “We want to prevent it in any way we can.”

The Twin Cities walk is one of nearly 250 such events being held this fall nationwide. The walks are expected to unite more than 100,000 walkers nationally and raise more than $7.5 million for suicide prevention efforts.

“Much more needs to be done to prevent suicide,” Lindsey Rafnson, who is helping to organize the Twin Cities event, said in a press release. “Yet, suicide and the underlying mental disorders that can sometimes lead to suicide continue to be surrounded by misinformation and stigma. This walk is about reducing stigma, raising awareness and raising funds for research and local prevention programs.”

The walk will begin at Black Bear Crossing at Como Park in St. Paul at 10 a.m. and end at approximately 1 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

It is estimated that close to 1 million Americans make a suicide attempt, more than 36,000 die from suicide, and more than 20 million suffer from depression each year.

“Every 15 minutes someone dies by suicide in the U.S.,” said Robert Gebbia, executive director for AFSP. “This fall, thousands will be walking to raise money for prevention and awareness, and offer hope to millions of people who have lost a loved one to suicide or who battle personally with depression, bipolar illness, addiction and other mental illnesses.”

More information about the foundation is at www.afsp.org and the Out of Darkness effort at www.outofthedarkness.org.

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