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Out of Darkness Walk Works to Raise Awareness about Suicide

Assemblyman Will Barclay said there is still time to register to walk in the upcoming Out of the Darkness Walk at Longbranch Park in Liverpool on Oct. 6.  The walk is organized by the Central New York Chapter of the American Federation of Suicide Prevention, which raises awareness through education, research and outreach.

Barclay said there are several risk factors, according to the American Federation of Suicide Prevention, that can serve as warning signs:

At least 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illness such as major depression, bipolar depression, or another depressive illness.  This includes schizophrenia; alcohol or drug abuse, particularly when combined with depression; posttraumatic stress disorder, or other anxiety disorder; bulimia or anorexia nervosa; personality disorders especially borderline, or antisocial.

Between 20 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves previously attempted suicide. Those who have made serious suicide attempts are at a much higher risk for actually taking their lives.

Family history of suicide, suicide attempts, depression or other psychiatric illness.

Impulsive individuals are more apt to act on suicidal impulses.

Males are three to five times more likely to die by suicide than females and elderly Caucasian males have the highest suicide rates.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline says other signs to watch for include: talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves; looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun; talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live; talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain; talking about being a burden to others; increasing the use of alcohol or drugs; acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly; sleeping too little or too much; withdrawing or isolating themselves; showing rage or talking about seeking revenge; and, displaying extreme mood swings.

There are several resources available locally as well.

To sign up for the walk, call 315-695-2201 or email Debra Graham at [email protected] or visit the local website at www.afsp.org/centralny

Also, the crisis hotline is available 24 hours through the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Oct. 6 walk check-in time is 9 a.m., welcoming ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. and the walk starts at 11 a.m.