The Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk Philadelphia on Saturday, June 28 for Suicide Awareness

Thousands Unite to Bring Suicide and
Mental Disorders ‘Out Of The Darkness’ and to Raise Funds for Life-Saving Suicide
Research and Prevention Programs
5, 2014) –
Thousands of people touched by suicide
and mental disorders will participate in a 17-mile Overnight Walk in Philadelphia
on Saturday, June 28, making a
bold statement as they journey through the night to raise funds and awareness
for suicide education and prevention. The
Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk (The Overnight, is the largest singular fundraiser presented by the American Foundation for Suicide
The Philadelphia walk is one of two Overnight Walks in 2014; AFSP will host a
second walk in Seattle on June 14. With strong participation from AFSP’s Greater Philadelphia chapter, this is the first time The Overnight will take place in
The City of Brotherly Love.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, a beautiful and iconic
backdrop, serves as the site for the
Walk’s opening and closing ceremonies as participants hear stories of remembrance
and triumph. Journeying through Boathouse Row, the Parkway Museums District,
Friendship Gate to Independence Hall, the cobblestone streets of historic
Philadelphia, and University City, passionate participants will come together
as a united and courageous community to break the silence surrounding mental
illness and suicide. Walkers will also encounter the “Finding The Light Within” mural, a project supported by
AFSP’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter and designed to shine a light on youth
suicide by providing a voice for those bereaved by suicide loss, suicide
attempt survivors, and their loved ones. Learn more
about the Philadelphia event including the route overview.
Making a
Difference in Philadelphia
AFSP, through its local chapters, works to fund suicide
education, prevention and advocacy efforts. The Greater Philadelphia Chapter,
chartered in 1999, supports local efforts such as:
Working to implement AFSP’s More Than Sad educational program into local schools to provide necessary
education to students and faculty about factors that put youth at risk for
suicide, in particular depression and other mental disorders.
Organizing local fundraising events such
as Out of the Darkness Community and Campus Walks
Leading national and local government
advocacy efforts.
Providing resources for survivors of
suicide loss including outreach and support programs.
Turning the tide on suicide statistics
by implementing the Interactive Screening Program (ISP) in local colleges,
industries, and organizations.
Strengthening the community by
sponsoring regional Mental Health First Aid Courses.
Suicide Is
A suicide attempt happens every minute of every day. A
person dies by suicide about every 14 minutes in the United States making
suicide the 10th leading cause of U.S. deaths, the fourth among 18 to 65 year
old adults. Yet, more than 90 percent of people who take their own lives have at least
one diagnosable and treatable mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder,
schizophrenia and/or alcohol and substance abuse. Despite these statistics, suicide and mental illness remain hidden
and shrouded in stigma. With better recognition and treatment many suicides
can be prevented. The Overnight brings
these issues into the spotlight, reducing the stigma and allowing the American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention to continue its life-saving work.
“While participants join The Overnight for
various reasons – they’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, lost a loved
one to suicide, or just want to support the cause – our mission is unified: bring
the issues of suicide and mental health out of the darkness and into the
light,” said Robert Gebbia, CEO, American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “Suicide is
preventable and the more of us that participate this June the louder our voice
will be in making it a national priority, so we can change the future of this
serious public health problem.”
What to Expect
at The Overnight
As the sun sets, the Overnight Walk begins with an
inspirational Opening Ceremony including an emotional Honor Beads ceremony
during which personal stories of connection to the cause are shared; participants
wear Honor Beads of varying colors to represent their reason for walking. Participants
connect and share along the route, cheered on by supporters and comforted to
know that everyone understands. As the sun rises, so too do the participants
come out of the darkness and into the light, met with thousands of
candlelit luminaria each
representing a life touched by suicide.
Participants can register individually or as part of a team.
Each Walker agrees to raise at least $1,000 and is assigned to a supportive Coach.
Those interested in participating can register as a Walker, become a Crew Member or Volunteer,
or make a donation. The
registration fee for Walkers and Crew is $50 with discounts and adjusted
fundraising goals for college students and the military. AFSP organizes
training walks in addition to providing helpful resources for both training and fundraising.
Learn More
This year’s events in Seattle and Philadelphia, AFSP’s 13th and 14th,
are poised to help raise major funding for suicide prevention research. More
than 81 cents of every dollar AFSP receives is used to fund scientific
research, education and prevention programs, awareness and advocacy
initiatives, and outreach efforts. More than 20,000 people have participated in
the 12 past Overnight Walks.
The Overnight is part of AFSP’s overall Out
of the Darkness Walks initiative
which also includes hundreds of three- to five-mile Community Walks and Campus
Walks nationwide each year. Visit
to learn more about The Overnight, prevention and education programs, relevant
research, how to get involved, as well as information to understand, prevent
and cope with suicide.
Watch how The Overnight offers hope, raises awareness, and
unites thousands in this inspirational video.
To learn more about and register for The Overnight, visit or call 888-The-Overnight (888-843-6837).
Follow The Overnight on Facebook and Twitter
(@OvernightWalk) using #OvernightWalk.