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Community walk places focus on suicide prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is partnering with Dickinson's Out of the Darkness Chapter to hold a community walk on Saturday.

The walk starts at 10 a.m. at the Heart River Retreat Center, 2475 West Broadway (formerly the Dickinson Teen Center.)

"The reason we're doing this is to bring awareness to the community about suicide," chairman Wilson McLaughlin said. "In recent years, I've lost several really good friends and that's why I'm involved."

Out of the Darkness Community Walks are 3-5 mile walks taking place in hundreds of communities across the country this year.

Proceeds will help the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Dickinson chapter with its educational programs to prevent suicide, McLaughlin said.

"We're anticipating a good shout-out from the community," McLaughlin said. "I've got 50 to 60 volunteers who are committed to help with the walk."

The walkers will receive free water and pizza donated by Pizza Ranch.

In the United States, a person dies by suicide every 13.7 minutes, claiming more than 38,000 lives each year.

It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute, with nearly one million people attempting suicide annually.

Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. among adults 18-65, the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults, and individuals ages 65 and older account for 16 percent of all suicide deaths.

The Out of the Darkness Community Walks are intended to increase national awareness about depression and suicide and to provide support for survivors of suicide loss.

Anyone who has been touched by the suicide of a family member or friend is encouraged to participate. For more information on joining the Community Walk or to donate, contact chairman McLaughlin at 701-260-4072 or go to

The retreat center is located at 2475 West Broadway.