Hundreds Walk Out of the Darkness for Suicide Prevention

Under cloudy skies and a steady drizzle, hundreds of people — men, women and children, young and old — participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Miami-Dade County “Out of the Darkness Walk” on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus Sunday, following a 5-kilometer trail to shed light on what Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, describes as “a war we are not winning.”

“With suicide being the only top ten cause of death in the United States that is not decreasing, it is imperative that we bring all possible and available tools at our disposal to achieve our goal of eliminating this clearly preventable cause of death,” said Nemeroff. “This includes research to identify risk factors, novel treatments and education of health care professionals and educators, as well as clergy.

“This is a war, not unlike the war on cancer, and at the current time in spite of our best collective efforts, we are not winning,” he added.

Indeed, the numbers are staggering. In 2014, the latest year for which accurate statistics exist, there were 42,773 reported suicides in the U.S. Approximately 120 people commit suicide every day, with a substantial number of those deaths being military veterans.

Sunday’s walk not only helped raise awareness but also much-needed funds to combat the problem, with Team UHealth and Nemeroff being the top fundraisers for the event. Miller School Dean Emeritus Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., joined Nemeroff in thanking the walkers for their dedication to ending suicide, which has touched so many of them personally.

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