Miller School’s Team Iacino Leads Hundreds at Out of the Darkness Community Walk

Members of the Miller School’s Team Iacino joined nearly 1,400 other “beacons of light” for the Out of the Darkness Walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Sunday on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus. The Veterans Day walkers joined to remember friends, family members and colleagues they had lost, and to raise awareness of suicide and strengthen efforts to prevent it.

Someone attempts suicide every 40 seconds, said Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Miller School Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a member of the national Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “There will be 35,000 to 40,000 suicides in the U.S. this year,” he said. “In the military, there are now more deaths by suicide than from combat.”

The Miller School team walked in memory of Richard A. Iacino, Chief of Staff to Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School, and CEO of UHealth. Psychiatry residents and friends also formed a team.

“Our goal must be to eradicate depression and suicide from planet Earth,” Goldschmidt told the crowd. “We can do that together.”

Paul M. Russo, FACHE, director of the Miami VA Healthcare System, said post-traumatic stress disorder leading to suicide is not limited to any particular age group. “This is a major issue for all of us.”

Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason read a special proclamation declaring Nov. 11, 2012, “Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Day” in Coral Gables. Everyone must know “there is help and treatment available,” Cason said. “We are breaking the silence on this important mental health issue.”

Alan Meca, the chair of this year’s walk, told the participants, “All of you are beacons of light for those who are suffering from mental illness.”

Team Iacino was the top fund-raising team, with more than $7,000 of the nearly $60,000 raised. Donations can still be made online.

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