Out of the Darkness

Fort Kent ~ On average, one person dies by suicide in the state of Maine, every 39 hours. In Maine, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall and, on average, there are 117 suicides per day in this country. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide almost always has multiple causes and many times these causes go unrecognized and untreated.

An initiative of AFSP, the Out of the Darkness Walk, is held internationally each year with the primary focus of raising awareness about suicide and highlighting the public’s role in prevention efforts. On September 9, 2017, Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) will sponsor the annual local Northern Maine Out of the Darkness walk. The only walk north of Bangor begins at the Riverside Park Lion’s Pavilion, in Fort Kent, with registration at 8 am and the start of the walk set for 9 am.

Suicide is a national health problem that takes an enormous toll on family, friends, co-workers, and the entire community. Some of the warning signs of depression 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 can be prevented. In deciding to walk, participants are taking a step forward to making suicide prevention a national priority. Members of the community are encouraged to join the movement and register to walk on September 9th. For more information about the walk, contact NMMC at 207-834-1353. For online registration go to www.afsp.org/walk. NMMC also offers a monthly support group on 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.

For more information about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook.