How You Can Help Fight Suicide at AFSP “Out of the Darkness Walks”

Whether you’ve experienced depression personally or not, it’s possible that suicide has affected your life in some way. It’s a problem that is growing at alarming rates, especially among our country’s youth. In the United States in 2017, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for the nation and the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-34, according to the NIMH. In fact, more people die each year in the US from suicide (47,173 in 2017) compared to homicide (19,510 in 2017).

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is an organization dedicated to the reversal of this trend. 

What Does the AFSP Do?

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention puts its resources towards fighting the tragedy of suicide. Founded in 1987, the organization began in response to a significant increase in the number of suicides among young people during the previous 40 years. A small group of families, each with their own story of being impacted by suicide, teamed together with scientists to form the beginnings of the AFSP.

Today, the AFSP efforts include: 

  • Providing funds for scientific research
  • Suicide prevention and mental health education
  • Suicide prevention and mental health public policy advocacy
  • Providing support for survivors and others who have been affected by suicide

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention notes on their website that before their founding, no non-profits dedicated to the problem of suicide through advocacy, education and research existed. Today, many individuals, families and communities are thankful the AFSP was created.

Here are just a few of the major accomplishments of the AFSP since 1987. View all of them here:

  • A local chapter has been established in all 50 states
  • Created the national "Out of Darkness Walks" (see below for more information!)
  • Helped educate media on best ways to cover suicides
  • Connected tens of thousands of people affected by suicide to form a strong community

According to Charity Navigator, the AFSP has an overall score of 89.12/100 with 83.7% of their expenses being attributed to their programs and 4.8% is administrative.

"Out of the Darkness Walk"

The Out of the Darkness Walk was created by the AFSP to bring people together under a single cause for a specific day in communities around the country. Walks take place in all 50 states with the goal of raising funds and awareness for suicide. Here are the three types of Out of Darkness Walks people can take part in:

  • Community Walks - Out of the Darkness Community Walks take place in over 400 local communities around the country. Families, friends and supporters are all invited. You can donate to or join the San Diego CouponCause team here! If you're interested in finding a community walk in your area this fall, click here.
  • Campus Walks - Taking place at high schools and colleges, campus walks with the AFSP promote the message among young people through a 5k walk each spring. Learn more here.
  • Overnight Walks - The Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk is an annual walk that takes place over 16 miles from dusk to dawn. The locations of the walk rotate every year. Learn more about the Overnight Walk here.

If you'd like to connect with the AFSP, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. You can also make a donation to the AFSP here.