The numbers are both saddening and shocking: Every 13.3 minutes, someone in the United States commits suicide. Every 60 seconds, a suicide attempt is made, and among teens and young adults, it is the second leading cause of death. With those sobering statistics in mind, hundreds of people gathered on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus Sunday for the annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk, aimed at raising awareness about suicide prevention.
Participants included students, UM employees, and residents from many South Florida communities. Some walked as part of a team. Others wore T-shirts with the photo of a loved one or friend who committed suicide. The recent suicide of Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams weighed heavily on the minds of many people.
Pascal J. Goldschmidt, senior vice president for medical affairs, dean of the Miller School of Medicine, and CEO of UHealth, and Charles B. Nemeroff, Leonard M. Miller Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, were among those who spoke prior to the walk, which featured the release of butterflies in memory of those who died by suicide.
The annual walk and others like it held around the nation are the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s signature fundraising campaign.