by Focus Staff
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Tennessee and the United States, and the second-leading cause of death for young Tennesseans, ages 12-24, yet suicide is preventable. Over 1,000 Middle Tennesseans will join over 300,000 people who are walking in towns across the country to draw attention to the fight for suicide prevention. The annual Nashville Out of the Darkness Community Walk, hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Tennessee, will be held on Saturday, October 13, at 9:00 a.m. at Two Rivers Park, 3150 McGavock Pike in Nashville. This walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education and support programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20 percent by the year 2025. For more information or to register for the Nashville Walk, please visit afsp.org/nashville.
Traditionally held on Nashville’s Music Row, this year’s walk has moved to Two Rivers Park in Nashville’s Donelson area. Walk Founder and Chair Josh Easler said the new location will allow the event to maintain a late morning start time to hopefully accommodate more participants.
“We walk to raise awareness about this important health issue. Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” he said.
The Nashville Out of the Darkness Walk is one of four Community Walks in Tennessee and more than 550 Darkness Overnight, Community, and Campus Walks being held nationwide this year. Last year, these walks raised over $21 million for suicide prevention; locally, the Nashville Walk raised over $75,000 and had more than 1,000 participants.
“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental health conditions.”
This year’s Nashville Walk speakers include Lived Experience Speaker David Cooke, AKA “Cookie,” co-founder of Cookie Cuts nutrition and personal training company in Nashville, and Suicide Loss Survivor Brenda Williams-Denbo.
Local AFSP sponsors for the Nashville Out of the Darkness Walk include Agency33, Allenbrooke Farms, Camp Gladiator, Centerstone, CertaPro Painters of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Fifth Third Bank, Integrative Family Medicine, Lamar Advertising Company, Lightning 100, McHugh Construction Co., The Nashville Center for Hope & Healing, Renewed (Eating Disorders Support), Sherry Reynolds Homes, Weighting Comforts, The Wright Agency – Nationwide, UL, and 12-Point SignWorks.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide.