Andover resident walking for suicide prevention

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BOSTON — On Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27, Katharine MacGregor of Andover will participate in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight, an 18-mile walk, from sunset to sunrise, to raise much needed funds and awareness for suicide prevention.

“I’m walking for the people I have loved and lost,” said MacGregor. “Not too long ago I lost someone who was very close with me and my family and not knowing the reasons why they did it or how they could do such a thing is a very painful thought process. This walk will be able to give me closure and help me find the answers and with those answers, hopefully no one has to go through the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.”

Proceeds from the Out of the Darkness Overnight will support a variety of programs including distribution of the foundation’s new educational film on teen depression titled “More Than Sad: Teen Depression” (www.morethansad.org) and the accompanying film for teachers that helps them recognize suicide warning signs and risk factors as well as how to refer students for help.

Both films aim to reduce teen suicide by addressing the leading cause, depression.

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According to scientific research, more than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying mental disorder at the time of their death, most often depression, bipolar disorder or substance abuse. Suicide affects all age groups and socio-economic backgrounds. It is the fourth leading cause of death among adults 18- to 65-year-olds and the third leading cause of death among teens and young adults. Individuals ages 65 and older account for 16 percent of all suicide deaths.

Full-time student participants in the Overnight agree to raise at least $700 each to walk, according to MacGregor. She hopes to exceed that goal and raise $1,000. To help MacGregor reach her goal or for more information, call 1-888-843-6837 or visit www.theovernight.org.

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