Community is invited to meet, greet, and learn how to help #stopsuicide

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it is preventable. That's why the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yates County is starting the conversation

about suicide in our small, rural town and hosting the first annual Yates County Out of the Darkness Community Walk Sept. 30 on the Keuka Outlet Trail. This fundraising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's (AFSP) local and national education and advocacy programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide 20 percent by 2025.

To kick off this event, the Coalition is hosting a free ice cream social Aug. 14 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Yates County Office Building.

"We walk to raise awareness about what is truly an important public health issue. Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide," said George Roets, Coalition board member and director of the Yates County Community Services Department.

Aug.14, community members can enjoy ice cream and fixings from Seneca Farms while they:

• Connect with Coalition volunteers.

• Pick up information about suicide warning signs, ways to help, and local resources.

• Register to walk in the Out of the Darkness Walk, donate, or sponsor the event.

• Sign up to join the Coalition and be added to their mailing list.

According to the AFSP, more than twice as many people die by suicide in New York annually than by homicide. In Yates County, suicide ranks in the top five causes of premature death before age 75. The Yates County Out of the Darkness Walk is one of more than 375 Out of the Darkness Community Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 250,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts.