Suicide prevention walk to be held Saturday

FileCommunity members are seen at the 2018 Out of the Darkness Walk in Delhi.

SUNY Delhi’s seventh annual Out of the Darkness Walk through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will take place on the college’s campus at noon Saturday, Sept. 28.

Those wanting to participate can register at the event from 11 a.m. to noon, or online at https://tinyurl.com/y4bnbsxo. Online registration closes at noon Friday, Sept. 27.

Attendees will walk from SUNY Delhi’s campus down to the courthouse square and back, making a loop through the village of Delhi, said Lori Barnes Osterhoudt, associate dean of students and director of Health and Counseling Services at SUNY Delhi. There will also be a benefit raffle and opportunities for people to remember and honor loved ones who have died from suicide, she said.

SUNY Delhi’s campus mental health counseling staff, Friends of Recovery of Delaware and Otsego Counties and other community agencies will be available at the event to give out information and resources.

Members of Kappa Sigma Epsilon fraternity will host a pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 before the walk at the Delhi Fire Department at 140 Delview Extension Terrace. Any donations received at the breakfast will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Barnes Osterhoudt said last year the event raised more than $8,600 through donations for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The goal this year is $10,000, she said.

“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among college students,” she said. “Delaware County has a higher than average suicide rate and that’s a concern. The more we talk about it and raise awareness, the better the odds that we can certainly reduce the amount.”

According to state Community Health Indicator Reports data from 2014-16, the suicide mortality rate in Delaware County is more than twice the state rate. 

This is part of what drove Kappa Sigma Epsilon to bring the Out of the Darkness Walk to SUNY Delhi seven years ago, said Tom Milgate, president of the fraternity’s alumni association. He counted the community’s support as part of what makes the event so successful. Delhi Diner donated pancake mix and coffee for the pancake breakfast, and local farms donated maple syrup and apples. 

“We’re blessed with a really strong support group,” Milgate said. “It sends the message that ‘Hey, you know what, your community cares.’” 

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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