‘Out of the Darkness’ walk this Saturday will raise money for suicide prevention

Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian, October 13, 2011

An “Out of the Darkness” community walk to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, meeting at the Main Street Plaza along the Eastbank Esplanade.

Registration will last from 8:30 to 10 a.m. For more information on the walk, you can call 503-821-9200 or click here to register online.

Portland public safety officials, Oregon Partnership staff and family of loved ones who have killed themselves stood together this morning at Tom McCall Waterfront Park to raise awareness about the rising number of suicides and suicide attempts in Oregon.

Just 11 minutes before the press conference got underway, fire officials got a call of a man who left his backpack behind and jumped off the Glenn Jackson Bridge along I-205 into the Columbia River. The fire bureau sent divers to try to locate him.

“Those of you who are in deep pain, I’m here to say you’re not alone,” said Caitlin Jones, who survived a suicide attempt over 10 years ago and now volunteers with Oregon Partnership.

She said she felt overwhelming hopelessness, complete and utter despair and felt as thought her state of mind would never change.

But with time, she said, “everything did change.”

Public safety officials encourage family or friends of people who are in despair to reach out to their loved ones, and those struggling to call Oregon Partnership’s 24-hour suicide lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to talk.