Crowds gathered outside Asser Levy Park, in Coney Island, Brooklyn, for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) walk on September 29, 2013. The SUNY Downstate Residency program was only one of the many groups that participated in this walk across the famous Coney Island Boardwalk. Banners and pictures of loved ones were proudly displayed to honor those who were unfortunately lost to suicide.
The AFSP’s Out of the Darkness walks combine a nationwide effort to raise money for research and educational programs to raise public awareness. The SUNY Downstate Residency program surpassed their personal fundraiser goal to accumulate a total of $2,407, earning a silver team banner. A grand total of $13,046 from the event was donated toward future research and public awareness campaigns.
Suicide is a serious public health issue with devastating impact on individuals, families, as well as communities worldwide. Suicide statistics noted on the AFSP webpage reveal frightening numbers. In the United States alone, suicide claims the lives of more than 38,000 individuals each year (one death every 13.7 minutes). There is a suicide attempt made every minute of each day, resulting in about one million attempts made annually.
The AFSP encourages all to actively participate, donate, and work together to raise awareness for this nationwide health issue. The organization urges families of those affected to walk in order to honor loved ones lost. For more information on local events in your area or fundraising opportunities please visit www.afsp.org.
Author: Lila Aboueid, MD
PGY-1 Psychiatry Resident, SUNY Downstate Medical Center