Sep 15, 2021 10:30 AM

Western Kansans to walk to fight suicide

Posted Sep 15, 2021 10:30 AM

Movement of a quarter million people joined by local participants in Hays

News release

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, yet suicide can be prevented. Volunteers from the Hays area are joining the quarter of a million people who are walking in towns across the United States to draw attention to the fight for suicide prevention. The annual Hays Area Out of the Darkness Community Walk, hosted by the High Plains Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be held at 2 PM, Saturday, Sept. 18, at Municipal Park in Hays. On-site registration begins at 1  p.m. Preregistration is available at This walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education and support programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20 percent by the year 2025. 

“Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Kyle Carlin, AFSP Greater Kansas Volunteer. 

The Hays Area Out of the Darkness Community Walk is one of more than 550 Out of the Darkness Overnight, Community and Campus Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts. 

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better and our culture will get smarter about mental health. With the efforts of our courageous volunteers, and a real investment from our nation’s leaders, we hope to significantly reduce the suicide rate in the United States.” 

Local sponsors for the Hays Area Out of the Darkness Walk include FHSU Health and Wellness Services, Nextech Wireless, New Age Industrial, eyeSmile Vision and Dental, Kiwanis - Hays, KS, Golden Belt Bank, Kippes Insurance Agency, Inc., High Plains Mental Health Center, Flame Engineering, Inc., Clinical Associates, KVC Hospitals, Dr. Sam Funk Optometry, NCK Contractors, and High Plains Farm Credit. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.