I've been working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness this year and for the first time ever I am leading a Live 95.9 team at this October's Berkshire County Walk to raise funds for the AFSP.

Live 95.9 will be there, and you can be, too. You'll be making a real difference and helping break down barriers that are preventing people from getting the care they need. You can sign up right here.

When it comes to supporting a cause, there is an aha moment – or moments – when you make the emotional connection to find your ‘why.’ Why am I walking to support the AFSP? I think my biggest 'why' is that I want to encourage candid conversation about mental health. I have experienced some anxiety and/or depression along with thoughts of suicide in my life, and I think it's time we talk more about the subject.

My kids need to know that it is okay to talk out what is going on whenever they need to. But it doesn’t stop there: Our brothers and sisters, moms and dads, friends – so many walk among us facing their own mental health challenges. They need to know that there is a safe place to share their feelings and thoughts – there is always help available!

Creating that safe place, and breaking down barriers, begins with having open conversations about a topic that has been considered dark or taboo in the past. The fact is, at an average of 129 suicides per day in the US, most of us are affected by suicide in our personal lives or in the news. I am walking to continue the conversation and to fight the stigma.

It may sound simple and too easy, but it is true: Real conversations save lives, and I will walk in Pittsfield on Oct. 5 to build awareness that it is OK to speak up, and to receive help.

If you're as convinced as I am that this is an important topic, learn more about The Berkshire County Walk that is coming to Pittsfield this October and join in. Mark your calendar and sign up. Here is the key info:

Walk Date: Oct. 5, 2019
Walk Location: Pittsfield Common, First St., Pittsfield, MA 01201
Check-in/Registration Time: 9 a.m.
Walk Begins: 10 a.m.
Walk Ends: 12 p.m.

Walk with me. Join team Slater's Stigma Smashers here. Every single person we get out there with us helps make a difference!