An event this weekend hopes to erase the stigma surrounding discussion of death by suicide and find strength in numbers.
The first "Out of the Darkness Community Walk to Prevent Suicide" in Lackawanna County will take place this Saturday, Oct. 13, at Courthouse Square in Downtown Scranton. Registration will be held 8-9 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9 a.m.
The event was organized by the Greater Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Betty Rozelle, a Clarks Summit resident who is also a committee member, explained why the event, which has previously been held in Wilkes-Barre, Honesdale and Tobyhanna, is now also going to be held in Scranton.
"There has been an increase of suicides in Lackawanna County, so that prompted the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to push for a Lackawanna County walk," she said. "There are so many people locally that it makes sense for it to be here, too."
So far, the event has more 20 teams participating, including a team from Abington Heights High School, and 130 participants. Already, $5,500 has been raised for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
"We're making a statement about the need to draw more attention to this by having this walk," Rozelle said. "The phrase, 'out of the darkness' is in reference to the fact that, historically, we don't like to talk about suicide. It is a taboo subject. But, in this day and age, why? Why not talk about it?"
"You wouldn't feel embarrassed if you had someone who died by a heart attack or cancer," Rozelle added. "The hope is to bring more awareness about it and to educate more people about the topic, so it is less taboo and so that more people will seek help."
For more information or to register for the walk, visit www.outofthedarkness.org.
Lackawanna County "Out of the Darkness" Community Walk committee members are pictured. From left: Bruce Amendolaro, Judy Nauroth, Angela Brigido, Betty Rozelle and Kathy Wallace.