Forum, fundraising walk to support suicide prevention efforts in SLO County

A suicide prevention forum will be held in San Luis Obispo on Thursday, followed Saturday by a community “Out of the Darkness” walk starting in Mission Plaza.

The free forum will feature training with Dr. Hannah Roberts, assistant director of community prevention and intervention in Cal Poly’s Counseling Services, on three steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide, according to a news release from Transitions-Mental Health Association.

The forum will also feature local stories of hope and survival as well as a local resources and mental health services fair. The event is hosted by the Suicide Prevention Council of San Luis Obispo County and Transitions-Mental Health Association.

It will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 651 E. Foothill Blvd. in San Luis Obispo.

On Saturday, more than 250 people from throughout the county are expected to participate in an annual “Out of the Darkness” walk at 10 a.m. Attendees will start at Mission Plaza and walk through downtown San Luis Obispo.

The fundraising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s local and national programs and its goal to reduce the annual suicide rate of 20 percent by 2025, according to a news release. It is one of more than 360 similar walks being held nationwide this fall.

The San Luis Obispo walk has raised more than $17,000 for suicide prevention efforts, event organizers said.

“We walk to give hope to those who have lost loved ones as well as those who suffer themselves,” said Jennifer Steele, chair of the San Luis Obispo walk.

Speakers will include suicide loss and attempt survivors and Marguerite Costigan, the county’s poet laureate.