More than 3,000 participants are expected to run in the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center’s eighth annual Alive & Running for Suicide Prevention 5K/10K race scheduled Sunday, October 8th, on the Westchester Parkway, just north of Los Angeles International Airport.

The Alive & Running event will be held in support of Didi Hirsch’s suicide prevention services, which include a 24-hour suicide prevention crisis line.

The race starts and finishes at 88th Street and La Tijera Boulevard in Westchester, with the 5K run beginning at 8 a.m. and the 10K run at 8:30 a.m.

Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton is scheduled to give a keynote speech at about 7:30 a.m., before the start of the race.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca is scheduled to run in the race and Dr. Drew Pinsky will serve as the master of ceremonies.

Actors Carrie Fisher, Ed Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Shirley MacLaine and Shawn Amos have joined the effort as honorary committee members, Didi Hirsch officials said.

Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center is partnering again with Students Run L.A., an after-school intervention program that promotes goal setting, perseverance and health among at-risk youths 11 to 17 years old by mentoring them as they train for and complete the Los Angeles Marathon.

Alive & Running will be Students Run L.A.’s first community event to kick off its training season. Program officials said the program’s participation is especially meaningful because suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-to-24-year-olds.

“With roughly 300,000 high school students attempting suicide each year, it’s crucial for our community, especially our youths, to know that there is no shame in reaching out for help,” said Kita S. Curry, Didi Hirsch president and chief executive officer.

Currently, the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center receives more than 21,000 calls each year, serving people from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, says a spokesman for the center.

Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center also provides other suicide prevention services for Los Angeles residents, including support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide; outreach to the community; and — in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office — an emergency response team that works with the Los Angeles Police Department Crisis Response Team to provide immediate crisis counseling at the scene of a suicide.

Information about the race, www.aliveandrunning2006.kin tera.org or (310) 751-5426.

Information about Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, www.didihirsch.org or (310) 390-6612.

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