SANTA MONICA—Upwards of 1,000 people are expected to partake in the annual Greater Los Angeles Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Saturday, October 15 in support of local and national suicide prevention education and advocacy programs.

The walk—which is one of nearly 400 being held nationwide this year—is hosted by the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), whose ultimate goal is to reduce the rate of suicide—the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Registration is slated to open at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday. The walk will begin at 9 a.m. and end at approximately 11:30 a.m. The starting line will be located on 3rd Street Promenade at Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.

‘We walk to raise awareness about this important health issue,” said AFSP Greater Los Angeles Area Director Traute Winters. “Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking, we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”

State of California suicide statistics (courtesy of AFSP).
State of California suicide statistics (courtesy of AFSP).

Speakers at this year’s Greater Los Angeles Out of the Darkness Community Walk will include:

  • AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia
  • Anthony Cornelius, son of Don Cornelius of “Soul Train” fame, who died by suicide in 2012
  • Joan Arsanow of UCLA
  • Amy Robinson of Argosy University
  • California 2017, who lost her Grandmother to suicide

Local sponsors of the walk include:

  • Argosy University, as the Presenting Sponsor
  • Center of Discovery
  • Psi Upsilon Fraternity
  • Callas Rennsport
  • GoGaurdian
  • Roclord Studios
  • Venice Church

At last year’s Out of the Darkness event, the Greater Los Angeles Region AFSP Chapter raised upwards of $110,000 and had approximately 1,000 participants.

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental health conditions.”

Organizers are confident that the event will attract a large crowd, and are encouraging the use of the Metro Expo Rail Line to get to and from downtown Santa Monica. The Expo station downtown is at the corner of 4th Street and Colorado Avenue, just two blocks from 3rd Street or about a 10-minute walk.

Parking for drivers is available at four parking structures (number one through four), although structures No. 1 and No. 2 are the closest walk. The first 90 minutes are free, $1.25 for the next hour and $1.85 each additional 30 minutes. The daily maximum is $17.50.