Montana, with a suicide rate nearly twice the national average, has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

In 2014, there were 243 suicides in Montana for an average of 20 per month, according to the final report for 2014 from the Montana Suicide Review Team.

Firearms continue to be the primary means by which Montanans take their lives, according to the report, constituting 61 percent of the suicides. Hanging is the second most common means at 19 percent, followed by overdose at 11 percent.

It is against that backdrop of Montana's suicide rates that residents will gather in Veterans Park on Sunday, Sept. 20 to participate in the Yellowstone Valley Out of the Darkness Walk. They will join hundreds of thousands of people across the nation to raise awareness and money to enable the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support survivors of suicide loss.

The organization's goal is to reduce the annual suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025.

Online registration closes at noon on Friday, Sept. 18. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk from the check-in begins at 12:45 p.m. until the walk starts at 2 p.m.

For more information, contact Joan Nye at (406) 321-0591 or via email at joannye@iwks.net.