Walk brings light to issue of suicide

Join the event Saturday morning at Backstreet park

September 9, 2012

Guided by the vision of ending suicide in Ashe County, the Ashe Suicide and Depression Awareness Task Force has organized an event called “A Walk out of Darkness” to educate the community about suicide and depression.

“A Walk out of Darkness” will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15 ain West Jefferson. Coffee and refreshments will be served at 8:30 p.m. before the walk begins at 9 a.m. First Baptist Church will provide parking and shelter in case of rain.

ASAP member Michael Lea, pastor of First Baptist Church, will be the emcee and guest speakers will include Dr. J.P. Jameson, assistant professor of psychology at Appalachian State University, and community members Rev. Ken Morris, former N.C. Representative Cullie Tarleton, and Sherry Goodman, co- chair of ASAP.

“We walk to send the message that all who are burdened by despair and hopelessness can count on available resources to provide professional help,” reads a press release from ASAP. “Our goal is to ensure that all are aware that the suicide rate in Ashe County is double that of the average in North Carolina and needs to be aggressively addressed as a public health issue.”

Often those closest to the victims of suicide can be most successful in getting a person to a helping professional. Friends and neighbors must be aware of the symptoms of depression and risk factors for suicide and know where and how to get help for those who need it. Although resources are available, unless used they cannot help to combat this problem.

Walk organizers want to send the message that asking for help is an act of strength, not weakness; that people of all ages, religions, races, and circumstances suffer from depression and may be at risk for suicide.

In all of its programs, ASAP strives to provide information about the tragic consequences of untreated depression as well as the resources available to those in need.

Who will be walking? Anyone who wants to help spread the message of healing and hope for those at risk of or affected by depression and/or suicide, if you are aware of the prevalence of depression and suicide loss in this county, if you have lost a friend or loved one to suicide, or if you simply want to join in supporting this issue, you are welcome to take part in this community effort to raise awareness and hope.

A circle of hope in which participants will stand together to envision a world without suicide will conclude the morning program.

There is no cost involved in the walk or program and tee shirts will be provided at the Backstreet Park for walkers.

For further information about the Walk Out of Darkness, contact Patty Faw at Ashe Memorial Hospital, 846-0781, or Sherry Goodman at 877-7443.