Suicide has long been a problem. What can we do for suicide prevention? One thing that we can definitely do is to raise awareness of the problem, and the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention has released information on this year’s Out of the Darkness Walk.
The Out of the Darkness Walk is not only a fundraising campaign organized for the people affected by Suicide problems; it is also an opportunity to find support from the community. “This year it is virtual, normally it is over at Raymond Park[Central Park] at Pasadena. They have Out of the Darkness Walks all over the country and at different times of the year. There is a big fundraising campaign for the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention. They focus on providing programs to bring awareness to suicide and to talk about it. Their whole campaign is called ‘Talk Saves Lifes’,” Mrs. El-Hendi said.
Raising awareness is essential to our community; it can save lives. Oftentimes people who are thinking about taking their own life by suicide will not say anything, and the Out of the Darkness Walk program will give these people a platform to share their stories and show them that they are not alone. “The best way that we can all create a safety net for everyone is to say it is okay to talk about it[suicide]. Oftentimes someone might say ‘Oh, I have a dentist appointment,’ but they might not say that you have a psychiatrist appointment. If we really talk about how it is okay to not be okay, and to say it is okay to ask for help, then we increase the chance of someone who is thinking of going that way, will let us know. That is what we need kids to do for other kids. The survey that students took for San Marino High School has about 20% of students have thought about taking their lives, and some had even developed a plan. We want to make sure that students who are feeling that way will at least let someone know so we can intervene,” Mrs. El-Hendi said. This example shows how common it is for people to feel like attempting suicide and that we should really raise the awareness to prevent these tragedies from happening.
Unfortunately, the Walk for this year is going to be virtual. But as Mrs. El-Hendi said, virtual ‘Walk’ also creates a more comfortable distance for some people, “The best is when they have the event in the park at Pasadena, it is so powerful to hear the stories and how people come together. A lot of people join the Walk because they had lost someone that they love by suicide. It is really powerful, the whole group of people, maybe 25 hundred, walk down Colorado Blvd, and everyone has their shirt with the notes of who they are walking for. That visibility of the community is so important. But now we are virtual; it is the opportunity for people to talk about it via social media, which is more comfortable for some people than having face-to-face conversations. We are missing the visual Walk and the community, but at the same time, we have an opportunity to continue to spread the message on our social media.”
Though we will miss the spectacular image of thousands of people walking down Colorado Blvd; and sharing their stories and support with each other, the distinct new format will also create a unique chemical reaction in the community. This year, with the opportunity to share stories and thoughts without face-to-face conversations, more people will be able to join and share support. Out of the Darkness Walk is not merely an event; it is also an opportunity to save lives. It is a life-changing event for many of us. Please attend this event; it may be for either family members, relatives, friends, or simply the people you love and care about. Showing support will always help.
Website Link: https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=7104