Hundreds of Walks Being Held Nationwide Through December 2014


More than 125 people are expected to participate in the upcoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Saturday, October 4th.  The fundraising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) by helping to support local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs to reduce the annual rate of suicide by 20 percent by 2025.


The Knoxville Out of the Darkness Community Walk is one of more than 360 Out of the Darkness Community Walks ( being held this fall nationwide.  The walks are expected to unite more than 120,000 walkers nationally and raise more than $12 million for suicide prevention efforts.


“Much more needs to be done to prevent suicide.  Yet, suicide and the underlying mental disorders that can sometimes lead to suicide continue to be surrounded by misinformation and stigma,” said PJ Alexander, Chairperson for the Knoxville Community Walk.  “This walk is about reducing that stigma, raising awareness and raising needed funds for research and local prevention programs.”


This is the 6th year for the Knoxville Community Walk.  The walk will begin at Victor Ashe Park at 9am. To learn more about the walk and to register, please visit  Walks may be found by location on the website.


According to AFSP, close to 700,000 people will make a suicide attempt requiring medical care and more than 38,000 will die by suicide in the U.S. every year.


“Despite the troubling statistics, an important goal of the walk is to stress that suicide can be prevented. The walk is also a call to action that more must be done to prevent suicide, nationally and in communities across the country,” said Robert Gebbia, executive director of AFSP.


“We know that the best way to prevent suicide is through the early recognition and treatment of the mental disorders that can contribute to suicide. Unfortunately, stigma about disorders such as depression, bipolar illness, and alcohol and substance abuse, keeps people from getting the treatment they need.  The Community Walk is about eliminating that stigma.  It’s about bringing hope to those who have been affected by suicide,” he continued.


Local sponsors for the Knoxville Out of the Darkness Community Walk include Kohl’s, Pilot Flying J, Trader Joe’s, and Mel’s Classic Diner in Pigeon Forge.


About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy as well as to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.  For more information please visit