Culminating September’s Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services will hold its 20th Annual Alive & Running 5K Walk/Run for Suicide Prevention on Sunday, September 30, 2018 beginning at 7:00 a.m. at West 88th Street & La Tijera Boulevard just north of LAX.

Actor/filmmaker Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy) will serve as Emcee of the event, which also marks the 60th year that the Suicide Prevention Center has been saving lives.

Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Joe Barksdale, who serves as Didi Hirsch’s Mental Health Ambassador and is a recipient of the agency’s 2018 Erasing the Stigma Leadership Award, said “After having my own difficulties with suicidal thoughts, Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month is a time to remind myself and others that suicidal feelings are nothing to be ashamed about. I strongly encourage anyone who is having suicidal thoughts, or knows someone who is having suicidal thoughts, to speak up and get help. There’s someone who cares about you, there’s someone who loves you, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Alive & Running is an inspiring, life-affirming gathering of people affected by suicide that remembers loved ones and raises money and awareness for Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center — the first and only one of its kind in the nation. The family-friendly event, which includes live music, speakers, children’s activities and a Health & Wellness EXPO, is expected to have 2,000 runners, walkers and volunteers and to raise over $350,000 for suicide prevention.

This year’s Alive & Running comes just months after the suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, which along with an alarming study showing that suicide has risen 25% since 1999, caused an unprecedented flood of calls to Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Crisis Line. The Center brought in extra counselors and staff and asked volunteers to work double shifts to handle the influx of calls. Call volume continues to remain higher while Didi Hirsch fields a growing number of requests for its suicide prevention trainings.

To meet rising demand Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services purchased a building in Century City that will serve as the permanent home for the Suicide Prevention Center. The new building will allow the organization to expand services to include therapy and support groups for children affected by suicide and a training academy for mental health professionals.

“We need to get the word out that help is available to anyone who is considering suicide,” says Mr. Dugan, who was touched by suicide three times. “My wife’s mother and two of my friends died by suicide. What those dear souls went through to arrive at that point is unimaginable to me. Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center offers lifesaving services and support for survivors. I hope that everyone who cares about suicide will join me in supporting Alive & Running because working together we can all help save lives.”

The Fletcher Family Foundation is Presenting Sponsor. The event is co-chaired by two Didi Hirsch Board of Directors: Vice Chair Pamela Kluft and Board member Andrew E. Rubin, a Platinum level sponsor. Los Angeles magazine is a media partner for Didi Hirsch’s Alive & Running 5K Walk/Run for Suicide Prevention as well as for its iconic Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards, which takes place in April. Power 106 is also a media partner for the event.

EVENT SCHEDULE
7:00 am Same-Day Registration
7:30 am Pre-Race Program
7:45 am Warm-up and Stretch
8:00 am 5K Walk/Run Begins!
9:00 am Entertainment

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