On Sept., 24 Chatham Township hosted its inaugural Out of the Darkness Community Walk to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. More than 500 people registered and raised more than $65,000.
The event took place at the Chatham High School featuring individual walkers and teams.
Chatham Twp. officials had proclaimed September, “American Foundation for Suicide Prevention” month in Chatham Township.
“As Mayor of Chatham Township I have made a concerted effort to increase awareness of suicide prevention,” stated Chatham Twp. Mayor Curt Ritter. “My interest in doing so stems from my early days on the Committee when I learned of a young father who died by suicide. While I did not know the individual, I committed myself, with the support of the Township Committee, to do whatever we could to help increase awareness of this important topic.”
Residents from the Chathams and the surrounding communities of Summit, Madison, Millburn, Short Hills and elsewhere participated in the walk.
“It’s our hope that all this walking will lead to talking, which is what we need to help remove the stigma when it comes to suicide prevention,” Ritter said. “Suicide touches one in five American families and we hope that by walking we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.Suicide is now the nation’s tenth-leading cause of death, and the second-leading cause of death for Americans aged 15-34 years old. If we are able to help one person think twice about suicide then we will have succeeded.”