Re: Suicide prevention

With less than three weeks until the arrival of September — Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month — I thought now would be a good time to write in and talk about the AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Walks. Next month, there will be two Out of the Darkness Walks in Wyoming, one in Sheridan, and two weeks later in Lander. In spring 2019, AFSP held the first ever Out of the Darkness Campus Walk in Laramie at the University of Wyoming, and had an amazing turn out. We were hoping to get 100 walkers for a first time, small market event. We ended up with 333 walkers and raised almost $15,000 for suicide prevention research, education and advocacy.

As co-chair of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Wyoming Chapter, I will be walking in the Sheridan County Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Sept. 14 at Sheridan’s Whitney Commons to draw attention to the importance of suicide prevention. I won’t be walking alone. I will be joined by many who share my dedication. Last year, more than 550 Out of the Darkness Walks took place in communities and on campuses across the United States, attended by a quarter of a million dedicated people who share my passion. Our movement is growing.

Like many, I walk because suicide has affected me personally. In 2011, we lost our oldest son Justin to depression. He was an amazing son, brother, nephew, cousin, co-worker and friend. Since then, my family and I have dedicated our time to educating others about suicide prevention and mental health. Our goal is to spread awareness of what is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., (seventh here in Wyoming) and let others know they are not alone. Please help us ensure that mental health is looked upon in equal importance to physical health, and continue to bring hope to those affected by suicide. Join me in Sheridan or Lander for one of these hope-filled walks. We need you.

Registration is free and we have sponsorship opportunities available as well. Learn more at afsp.org/sheridancounty.

Thank you. We hope to see you at one of our Out of the Darkness Walks.

Lisa O’Dell, AFSP Wyoming

Sheridan