Volunteers to fight suicide across Roaring Fork, Colorado River valleys

Staff report

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, yet suicide can be prevented, suicide prevention advocates believe.

Volunteers across the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys are joining thousands of people who are gathering in town across the United States to promote suicide prevention. The annual Western Slope Out of the Darkness Walk, hosted by the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Garfield County, will be held on Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

This gathering will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education, research, and survivor support programs.

In addition to raising awareness and funds to fight suicide, the walks give those who attend a chance to connect with others and know they are not alone, whether they walk in memory or in support of a loved one or in honor of their own mental health journey, advocates say.

“Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by connecting with one another, we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Mason Hohstadt, public health specialist and chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Garfield County.

Local sponsors of the Western Slope Out of the Darkness Walk include Alpine Bank, Castle Valley Children’s Clinic, Grand River Health, and Storm King Mechanical. A 9Health:365 Fair will also be occurring concurrently at the Glenwood Springs Community Center on the day of the walk.

Whether you’re hoping to monitor your overall health or discover your personal health risk factors, the event will offer the screenings you need at affordable prices to empower you to take your health into your own hands, officials say.

In addition to the walk, the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Garfield County is partnering community organizations to offer two other events throughout September in honor of National Suicide Prevention Month. Radiant Yoga with Somer will be offering a free yoga in the park event on Sept. 17 from 8 to 9 a.m. at Centennial Park in Rifle, and a film screening of The “S Word” will be held at the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus on Sept. 9; doors will be open at 6:30 p.m.

For additional information about the walk, including how to join a team or make a donation, visit