Annual Darkness Walk In Ocean City Raises $40K

Annual Darkness Walk In Ocean City Raises $40K
10 17 Color Page 38 WEB

OCEAN CITY — The sun shone last month on over 500 participants on the Ocean City Boardwalk for the 3rd Annual Out of the Darkness Walk, a fundraising event facilitated by the Worcester County Health Department, to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund. The event raised over $40,000.

Opening the event, State Senator Jim Mathias encouraged everyone to “walk out of the darkness into the light,” a fitting message for those walkers, many of whom were there to remember loved ones who lost their lives to suicide, and to proclaim through their presence a determination to prevent other families from suffering as they had.

“The outpouring of support and participation is amazing,” said walk chair Brittany Hines of the Worcester County Health Department. “It shows there is a need for more suicide prevention, education, and awareness. This event is a big step in the right direction for accomplishing this.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a national organization that is engaged in researching the causes of suicide and the preventive measures that anyone can do to keep those at risk safe. Local organizations, like the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, work with the AFSP to provide training and workshops addressing suicide risks and prevention. Trainings are available for both professional heath care providers and laypeople who share its passion for suicide prevention.

“With the help of the AFSP and many local donors, we are able to offer Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, Mental Health First Aid, and a variety of other programs to the general public on the lower Eastern Shore,” said Kim Klump, president of the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund. “Suicide rates are historically very high in rural areas like ours, and many either are not aware of the risk or unwilling to seek help for the mental challenges that often end in suicide.  Our fund, through the Worcester County Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program, is devoted to reducing suicides in our seaside communities.”

west o bottle shop

Many local partners worked together to promote the walks, including Atlantic General Hospital, Wicomico County Health Department, Life Crisis Center, Salisbury University and cadets from the Stephen Decatur High School NJROTC.