Suicide prevention walk raises awareness

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Some of the estimated 500 who walked “out of the darkness”

CARMEL – A sunny autumn Sunday morning awaited more than 500 walkers who participated in Putnam County’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk throughout the hamlet of Carmel.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s signature event raised both funds and awareness about suicide.
The national organization reported last week that one person takes his or her own life every 13 minutes in the U.S. claiming more than 39,500 lives annually while a suicide attempt is made every minute of every day resulting in nearly one million annually.
Maria Idoni, director of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide, reported “many worthwhile causes are found throughout the country including Breast Cancer Awareness, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Autism Awareness and ALS just to name a few. Money raised for any of these health issues helps doctors and scientists develop cures and save lives.      “When it comes to suicide prevention, one doesn’t have to be a doctor or a nurse or scientist,” Idoni said. “We all can save lives by understanding what the indications are and by learning the warning signs, we can interrupt that tragic thought.”
Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health Mike Piazza lauded the large turnout. “You people are here for out of love. While many of us cry due to the loss of a loved one or friend, we are creating a community that will become aware of suicide knowing the resources available to avert such tragedy.”
Piazza called on all residents to “know the warning signs. We can make a statement that intervention is obtainable.”
Alyssa Schmidt of Putnam Valley, who lost her grandfather to suicide 15 years ago admitted being “initially mad at him for leaving us. It took me years to realize the reality to forgive and forget. The more people aware about suicide and depression and that it is an ongoing problem in communities throughout Putnam County, the more likely they will seek help. Life is too short to stress over the little stuff. Remember, always try to be kind!”
Paula Deninger lost her husband in 2011 and “at the time there were no services, no support or bereavement groups. I decided something had to be done and the first walk was held. Thanks to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention many services have been brought to the county both for those affected by a suicide as well as emergency responders who deal with the issue every day.”
Deninger’s message was simple and to the point. “If something doesn’t seem right, seek help because you never know!”
More than 75 members of Kelly’s Angels, a group formed by members of the Lake Carmel Fire Department following a tragic loss, raised thousands of dollars for research.