Pictured at Saturday's fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are, from left, Jenna Witkowski, LMSW, Diane Marchietti, both of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, and Niagara University students Samantha Lamar and Jordan Aldred. Students not pictured: Aja Ruff and Amy Love.

Four students from Niagara University’s clinical mental health counseling program participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’sOut of the Darkness Walk, which was held last weekend in Delaware Park.

Jordan Aldred, Samantha Lamar, Amy Love and Aja Ruff volunteered their time in the rain and cold to support the event, which is the AFSP’s signature fundraising campaign. The students assisted adjunct professor Toni Steinbarth, LHMC, with organizing 81 baskets and silent auction items that were raffled off to the more than 1,000 people in attendance.

The event raised $143,000.

Held nationwide, the Out of the Darkness Walks raise money for AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives. The walks raise awareness about depression and suicide, and provide comfort and assistance to those who have lost someone to suicide.

Suicide claimed 41,149 lives in 2013 in the United States alone, with someone dying by suicide every 12.8 minutes. A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day, resulting in nearly 1 million attempts made annually.

Founded in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention funds research, offers educational programs, advocates for public policy, and supports those affected by suicide. Additional information on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention can be found at www.afsp.org.