Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Northern Maine Medical Center, 194 East Main Street, Fort Kent, Maine
For more information: 207-834-1353; nmmc.org
Fort Kent ~ Out of the Darkness Walk organizer, Jennifer Malmborg, described the response to the annual walk as an “amazing turnout.” She said the event continues to grow each year, drawing people from the far reaches of Aroostook County. This year’s numbers reportedly increased by fifty percent over last year, with $12,697 in pledges collected thus far, in comparison to $9000 raised last year.
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The registration process for the event, with its numerous items of memorabilia, balloons and live music, offers opportunities for old friends to reunite and for people more recently affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide to develop connections and build a support system. Several teams were present at the walk, representing the loss of a loved one from long ago or some, a more recent loss. One in particular had a noticeably larger presence. During the pre-event networking, it was learned that a fifteen year old from Van Buren, named Austin, had taken his life a mere two months ago. Residents, family members, soccer teammates and students from Van Buren represented a large percentage of the total participants, numbering over sixty individuals of all ages.
The Out of the Darkness Walk is held internationally each year with the main purpose to raise awareness about suicide and to highlight the public’s role in prevention efforts. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide almost always has multiple causes and many times these causes go unrecognized and untreated. Some of the warning signs can include: talking about wanting to die and feeling hopeless, increasing use of alcohol or drugs, sleeping too much or too little, withdrawing or feeling isolated or displaying extreme mood swings. The more of these warning signs a person shows, the greater the risk for suicide. When these and other signs are identified, treatment can be initiated, thereby reducing the risk for suicide. Clinicians caution though, that not everyone exhibits signs that can be identified.
Suicide is a national health problem that takes an enormous toll on family, friends, co-workers, and the entire community. Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) offers a monthly support group the first Thursday of every month to provide a safe place for survivors to meet, share, and work together to heal. The sessions are free and open to the public. AFSP, the leader in the fight against suicide, reports that suicide is preventable. Know the facts. For more information about warning signs and treatment options, go to www.afsp.org or call NMMC at 207-834-3155.
To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!
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