DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — Hundreds showed their support for suicide awareness and prevention Sunday afternoon in Daphne, hoping to show people suffering that they are not alone.
Nearly 900 people took part in the Out of the Darkness Walk, to show support and that no one is alone in their struggles with mental illness.
“Very emotional day. It always is,” said Lydia Barber, the organizer of the Out of the Darkness Walk.
As hundreds pounded the pavement in Downtown Daphne, organizers of the walk hoped a message shone through.
“We’re here to support each other. We felt the love today,” Barber said.
According to the Alabama Department of Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 nationwide. Alabama has shown a pattern of higher suicide rates than the national average since 1990.
“It’s an everyday struggle for a lot of people here,” said Barber.
Most people at the walk were impacted in some way by suicide.
“We lost my brother-in-law February 5th of last year,” said Andy Goins. He continued, “now that we’ve lost someone, we realize how important it is, and how mental health is something that’s serious this day and age.”
The South Alabama Out of the Darkness Walk aims to raise awareness and money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support survivors of suicide loss.
“We’ve got to end the stigma. We have to treat mental illness like we do physical illness,” Barber said.
The walk organizers also want those struggling with suicidal thoughts to know that people are there to listen to any problems they are going through.
“Don’t give up, keep trying. Find the help they need,” Barber said.
If you or a family member are struggling with suicidal thoughts, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7: 1-800-273-8255.
You can also find more support resources here.
Walk donations will be accepted on the Out of the Darkness Walk’s website through December 31st. At the time of publication, they raised $51,284 of their $60,000 goal.