Walks aim to raise money for mental-health and suicide-prevention programs

▪ NAMI Boise (the local chapter of The National Alliance on Mental Illness) hosts its 3rd annual March for Mental Health Awareness to raise money for its free community education and support programs throughout the Treasure Valley.

Walkers will gather on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at 9 a.m. at Pavilion 1 (the Boise Pavilion) in Julia Davis Park. Boise Police Chief Bill Bones will lead the March up Capitol Boulevard at 10 a.m., escorted by the Boise Sober Riders MC chapter to the Idaho Statehouse where special presentations will take place.

Register online at namiboise.org, call the NAMI office at 208-376-4304 or email manager@namiboise.org.

▪ The Idaho Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts its annual Treasure Valley Community Walk, “Out of the Darkness,” on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Kleiner Park in Meridian. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The walk begins at 10 a.m.

There is not a fee to participate, nor are walkers required to raise a minimum amount of money. Organizers suggest that each walker raise $150 or more, but the amount, if any, is up to individual walkers. Donations are also welcome. Donations support suicide prevention research, education programs, public policy advocacy and support for survivors of suicide.

Register and read more details online at afsp.donordrive.com.

The walk route is 3 miles. Features include Paws for Prevention bandanas for (leashed) dogs for a $10 donation and a memory garden where people are invited to post photos of loved ones they’ve lost. Honor beads will also be available. Different colors identify those who have lost someone to suicide or survived suicide, or been an ally in the fight against suicide. A number of local organizations, including NAMI - Boise; the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline; the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition; LiveWilder Foundation; Not One More Suicide (a.k.a. NOMS); the Speedy Foundation, will have tables at the event.

Idaho and the Intermountain West have some of the highest suicide rates in the country, adding to the urgency of this cause.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or know someone who is in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK for guidance.