How to Become an Ally to Help Raise Suicide Awareness

AFSP volunteers gather together after a community walk. – Courtesy photo / American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

AFSP Presents “Out of the Darkness” Walk in Pasadena

By Sedonah Najera

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and preventing suicide. AFSP’s signature fundraiser, Out of the Darkness Community Walk, brings communities together to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected lives and loved ones. The AFSP is inviting everyone throughout Pasadena and surrounding communities to participate in the Greater Los Angeles Pasadena Out of the Darkness Community Walk at 9 a.m., this Saturday, Nov. 4 at Central Park in Pasadena.

The walk will proceed through a 2.4-mile route on the north side of Colorado Boulevard and then turns around on Lake Avenue to continue along the south side of Colorado Boulevard. It will return to Central Park for closing ceremonies. Guest speakers include Guadalupe Aguilar speaking as a Loss Survivor and Robert Gamboa speaking as Attempt Survivor with lived experience.

Join the effort with the local community to raise awareness and funds that allow the AFSP to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. This fundraising walk supports the AFSP’s local and national programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide 20 percent by 2025.

For those who are not able to attend the event but would like to know more on how to help someone who is having thoughts of suicide, here five action steps for communicating.

  1. Ask- Asking questions in a direct, unbiased manner can open the door for effective dialogue about their emotional pain.
  2. Keep them safe- This stepis about showing support for someone during the times when they have suicidal thoughts by putting time and distance between the person and their chosen method.
  3. Be there- Whether if it’s physically being there for someone, talking to them on the phone, or any other way of support, can increase someone’s connectedness and limit their isolation.
  4. Help them connect- It’s important to help them connect with ongoing supports that can establish a safety mechanism for those moments they find themselves in a crisis.
  5. Follow up- It’s important to follow up and check in how the person is doing, whether if they need more help or if they’re making progress.

As the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, suicide remains a serious public health problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Losing someone to suicide or struggling with a mental illness can feel like no one understands what they are going through.

For more information on how to register for walks or to help raise awareness and funds that will save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide, visit their website at


November 2, 2017

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