DEPRESSION, SUICIDE; Walking Proudly

Article excerpt

Saturday is a big day in Jacksonville.

It's not just another citizens' walk so common this time of year. It's a walk that probably takes some courage, judging by the stigma connected to the subject.

The issue is depression and the result can be death. Tragically, it is one of the most preventable diseases, but prevention is hampered if members of the community don't know the signs of depression, if mental health services are hard to obtain and if the community would rather avoid the subject.

In fact, about 7 percent of full-time workers experienced an episode of major depression in the past year, reported data from 2004 to 2006 in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report.

That costs U.S. companies about $37 billion a year in lost productivity, besides the many health effects to the individuals and their families.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention began holding Out of Darkness Community Walks in 170 communities, including 18 listed in the Southeast, starting in September.

The object is to raise money for research and education programs to help prevent suicide, increase national awareness of depression and suicide and assist survivors of suicide loss, the organization says in a press release.

This disease needs to come out of the shadows.

- Depression is the leading cause of disability in America, reports the Depression is Real Coalition. …