Chatham Township to Host 3rd Annual Walk to Fight Suicide

The Chatham Township Committee today announced that in its continuing efforts to raise awareness of suicide prevention it will host its 3rd Annual Chatham Township Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Saturday, September 22nd at 4:30 PM to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The event will take place, rain or shine, at Cougar Field located at 320 Shunpike Road in Chatham Township. Participants can register as an individual, or as a team, by visiting Individuals are also encouraged to ‘Like’ the Walk’s Facebook page at

Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter, speaking on behalf of the Committee, said, “In recent weeks we have seen an increased awareness of suicide following the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Unfortunately, they are but two of the nearly 45,000 Americans who die by suicide each year. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and the 11th leading cause of death overall in New Jersey. Recently, the School District of the Chathams reported in their Critical Issues in Student Wellness report that 102 high school students and 50 middle school students had seriously considered attempting suicide. The time to act is now, and we hope that our ongoing efforts to shed a bright light on this important issue will help bring greater awareness of suicide prevention and raise much-needed funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“We are grateful for the support of the community who has helped to make the Chatham Township Walk one of the largest Out of the Darkness Walks in New Jersey, raising more than $150,000 over the past two years. I encourage all residents, young and old, to consider participating and getting involved. While suicide does not discriminate, it is preventable and together we can make a difference.”

Individuals and local businesses that have an interest in sponsoring the Chatham Township Out of the Darkness Community Walk can learn more at

The Chatham Township Out of the Darkness Walk is one of more than 375 Out of the Darkness Community Walks being held nationwide this year. Hundreds of individuals from throughout Morris, Essex, and Union counties are expected to participate in the Chatham Township Walk, which will supports the AFSP’s local and national education and advocacy programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide 20 percent by 2025.

As part of its efforts to educate and inform its resident on suicide awareness and prevention, the Chatham Township Committee has hosted a series of community forums, “Talk Saves Lives,” in conjunction with the AFSP. Individuals can view replays of the presentations on the Township online video library at

About The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide.

Media Contact:
Gregory J. LaConte
Township Clerk/Registrar

Why mental health advocates use the words ‘died by suicide’

From NBC News:

With the news this week of the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, reactions and commentary are pouring in on social media. People who never met them are grasping for answers as to why these icons could meet such a tragic end. Specifically they may be asking, “How could they do this?” It’s a common question in the aftermath of a suicide that, though typically innocent in nature, is loaded with crucial misunderstandings about suicide and, in some cases, mental illness.

What exactly is the problem? Partly it’s in the language. Asking “how someone could do this” puts responsibility on the victim, just as the phrase “committed suicide” suggests an almost criminal intent. Depression and other mental illnesses are leading risk factors for suicide. This is why mental health advocates usually employ the term “died by suicide,” as it removes culpability from the person who has lost their life and allows a discussion about the disease or disorder from which they were suffering.

Read the full article.

Preventing Suicide is Everyone’s Business

From the National Council for Behavioral Health:

The high-profile deaths by suicide last week of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade shed light on a growing national problem. While other causes of death are declining, the suicide rate keeps climbing – alarmingly so. The same week Bourdain and Spade died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study which revealed that suicide rates increased in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with half of those states seeing an increase of 30 percent. Nearly 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016 – that’s one person every 12 minutes.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade and to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide. Clearly, suicide is not an isolated incident and it’s not just a mental health problem. The CDC reported that more than half – 54 percent – of people who died by suicide did not have a diagnosed mental health condition. Among the other factors that contributed to suicide deaths were relationship problems, substance use, physical illnesses, job loss and money troubles. Suicide is a public health problem that can and must be prevented.

First, we must recognize that suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We all know someone who is living with depression or anxiety, has lost a loved one to suicide or is struggling to find mental health or substance use treatment for themselves or a loved one. The time has come when our response to someone with a mental health problem or an addiction should be no different than our response to someone with cancer, heart disease or diabetes. The National Council’s Mental Health First Aid offers tools to help start a conversation, listen with compassion to someone who has thoughts of suicide and direct them to professional help.

Second, we must make it easier for people to get the help they need. The National Council’s 2,900-plus members are transforming health care delivery for individuals at risk of suicide by offering same-day access to services and beginning to adopt a Zero Suicide approach to care, which makes all health care settings suicide safe. Zero Suicide is a bold goal that we are fully capable of meeting.

Third, we must advocate for public policies that support individuals and their families at risk of suicide. We must fully implement that National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and its Prioritized Research Agenda. We must urge Congress to pass the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act to increase the number of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) around the country. CCBHCs receive a Medicaid rate that allows them to provide comprehensive, evidence-based care for mental illnesses and addictions, integrated with primary care. CCBHCs provide services when and where people need them.

Finally, we must remember that suicide is caused by disconnection and isolation. The best thing we can do if we are worried about someone attempting suicide is to tell them we are concerned, ask them if they are thinking about death and get them help from professionals, family members and friends. Suicide deaths are preventable, and we must start today.


The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 2,900 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 1 million Americans have been trained. For more information, please visit