As Mayor of Chatham Township I have made a concerted effort to increase awareness of suicide prevention. My interest in doing so stems from my early days on the Committee when I learned of a young father who died by suicide. While I did not know the individual, I committed myself, with the support of the Township Committee, to do whatever we could to help increase awareness of this important topic.
Over the years, the Township Committee has hosted several Talk Saves Lives community-based presentations in conjunction with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), replays of which can be found on the Township website (http://bit.ly/2h8VZIi).
Last year we hosted the inaugural Chatham Township Out of the Darkness Community Walk in support of the AFSP. This event was more successful then we could have imagined. The 500 walkers raised in excess of $75,000 and helped bring important awareness around suicide prevention.
This next Saturday, September 23, we will host our second annual Walk at Cougar Field beginning at 4:30. Residents from the Chathams and the surrounding communities of Summit, Madison, Millburn, Short Hills and elsewhere are participating. I encourage you to register today and join us in the fight against suicide at www.afsp.org/chathamtwp.
It’s our hope that all this walking will lead to talking, which is what we need to help remove the stigma when it comes to suicide prevention. Suicide touches one in five American families and it does not discriminate; so whether you’re able to participate this weekend or not, please consider having a conversation with your family and friends. Remind them that suicide is now the nation's tenth-leading cause of death, and the second-leading cause of death for Americans aged 15-34 years old. If we are able to help one person think twice about suicide then we will have succeeded.
Mayor, Chatham Township