The inaugural Delaware Out of the Darkness Community Walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention in the First State is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. Registration begins at noon. A Center for Mental Wellness in downtown Dover and the Downtown Dover Partnership have collaborated to make this event happen.
A Center for Mental Wellness off West Loockerman Street has collaborated with the Downtown Dover Partnership to the hold the inaugural Delaware Out of the Darkness Community Walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention in the First State.
The Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Dover is scheduled for Nov. 10 downtown, said Ed Perez, project coordinator for the Downtown Dover Partnership and the Dover Economic Development Office. These walks take place in communities across America on various dates, but A Center for Mental Wellness is bringing the walk to Delaware for the first time.
The Downtown Dover Partnership has assisted A Center for Mental Wellness with logistics for the event, such as planning the race route, providing permits, and providing opportunities for promoting the event, said Jenna Mahoney, a counselor and training coordinator at A Center for Mental Wellness.
In addition, most of the downtown merchants were supporting the walk organized in part to combat the rash of suicides that occurred in Kent and Sussex counties in early 2012, Mahoney said.
"Most of our downtown merchants are from Dover and proud to be part of the community," she said. "They are our neighbors; their kids go to our schools. They realize that this event doesn't just impact their business, but also their own personal lives. We have had a great response from several businesses in helping to promote [the walk]."
IF YOU GO
WHAT Out of the Darkness Downtown Dover Community Walk
WHEN 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 (Registration starts at noon.)
WHERE The newly developed Loockerman Way Plaza, West Loockerman Street, Dover
INFO www.outofthedarkness.org, Call, (302) 674-1397, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
Federal officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study during the spring and summer of the 11 young people who committed suicide in Kent and Sussex counties earlier this year. The cluster of suicides included four alone at Polytech High School in Woodside.
The CDC concluded in a repot released last August that the young people had experienced a combination of mental health issues and social problems that adults must look out for in the future.
Mahoney said "a fantastic community" of mental health professionals and counselors all pitched in to help with much-needed services during those unfortunate circumstances in lower Delaware.
"After these events we became even more aware that there is a greater need for awareness, advocacy, and education regarding suicide," said Mahoney, chairwoman of the Out of the Darkness event in Dover. "Many think that 'suicide' is bad word. It is actually just the opposite. "The more people who join our walk, the better chance we have of promoting awareness, advocacy and education."