CHATHAM, NJ – The Chatham Township Committee announced that in its continuing effort to raise awareness of suicide prevention it will host a community-based presentation, “Talk Saves Lives,” in conjunction with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Chatham Borough Council.

The free presentation will take place on Wednesday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Library of the Chathams. Individuals interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP to Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter at Mayor@chathamtownship-nj.gov

Mayor Curt Ritter, speaking on behalf of the Committee, said, “Suicide is preventable and while it’s not a topic that is often discussed I hope our ongoing efforts to shed light on this important issue will encourage our residents to learn how together we can help prevent suicide. We know that suicide does not discriminate, and I encourage all residents to take one hour of their time to attend this important presentation.

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“In addition, this September 23 we will host the second annual ‘Out of the Darkness Walk’ at Cougar Field to help increase awareness of suicide prevention. Last year we raised more than $75,000 among more than 500 walkers and I am hopeful this year’s event will be as successful in raising funds and awareness. Individuals interested in participating or volunteering can visit http://bit.ly/2oBDdy4 or contact me directly.”

The hour-long presentation will cover the general scope of suicide and the research on prevention. Attendees will also learn the risk and warning signs of suicide and what they can do to prevent it. Although suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States and the 12th-leading cause of death overall in New Jersey — too few people know how to help someone who may be suffering from a mental health condition, like depression or who may be in a suicidal crisis.

The AFSP’s New Jersey chapter is trying to change this and has trained more than 70 volunteers to present education programs including “Talk Saves Lives.”

“Through research, we know that we can prevent suicide. There is no single cause, but in most cases if we can first identify the risk and warning signs of suicide, we can help someone who may be suffering,” said Elizabeth Roithmayr, AFSP New Jersey Area Director. “Suicide prevention starts with education. Through these learning workshops, we hope to decrease the number of New Jersey residents who die by suicide each year.”