Out of Darkness Walk for suicide prevention slated Oct. 15

Published 10:59 am Thursday, September 29, 2022

Invest a few hours in saving lives. The Fourth Annual American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)  Out of Darkness Community Walk will be held Sat., Oct. 15 at Burton Coliseum, 7001 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles.

Participating is a way to honor the life of a friend or family member who died by suicide, the chance to learn what to say to someone who might be considering ending his or her life and a fundraiser for programs and training. Monies stay local. Registration is at 8:30 a.m., ceremony at 9:30 a.m., start time at 10 a.m. and closing ceremony at 11 a.m.  Registering and creating a team is free. The walk goal is to have at least one team member walking at all times. Walkers can bring a photo of their loved one to add to the Wall of Remembrance.

For the first-time ever at this walk, suicide prevention content will be offered in both English and Spanish.

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As of August, there have been 20 deaths by suicide in Calcasieu Parish, according to Kevin Yaudes, PhD, LPC NCC. It is a problem that touches the lives of many and is the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S.

“Sharing the number of deaths by suicide is a statistic we often see used,” said Yaudes, “but a more telling number is that for every death by suicide there are 25 attempts. For adolescents, that number is much, much, higher, as high as 100 to 200 attempts.”

According to the AFSP, there were 1.20 million suicide attempts in America last year.

Yaudes is a University of Louisiana System mental health content expert, assistant department head, psychology and counseling and Kare Dore Counseling Clinic faculty advisor. He co-chairs this event with Dr. Angela Ogea, Dean of McNeese State University College of Education. 

“So many struggle in silence. We want to send the message that suicide is preventable, and that no one is alone,” Yaudes said. “The last few years have been challenging. We invite those who are struggling in silence with any life event to join us. This is a show of support.”

Walking isn’t the only way to participate: Become a walk sponsor, participate in the kids’ corner activities, chair a committee, attend a “Talk Saves Lives,” attend a Question, Persuade, Refer training; request to have a resource table at the walk, attend Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to Mental Health Read-Along for children ages 5-11, be a food truck vendor, do the “Write, Inspire, Read, Educate (WIRE) Activity, before the walk create your own team t-shirts and/or buttons, get your walk beads, wristbands and tea light.

For more information or to register, contact Dr. Kevin Yaudes at kyaudes@mcneese.edu