Out of the Darkness: Walk for the Better

On Sept. 16 in Annapolis, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention hosted an ‘Out of the Darkness Walk’ in order to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention. People throughout the county, parents, grandparents, students, children and even dogs came together and participated in this walk that mapped from Navy Marine Corps Stadium to the bottom of Main Street in Annapolis.

At 10:00 a.m. the check in/registration was open to everyone. When you walked in, a crowd of people welcomed you. Nobody was mean; nobody looked at you funny; nobody questioned you; everyone was warmingly welcomed. In another line, bead necklaces were handed out with different colors symbolizing different meanings in how suicide has been a part of you. The meanings ranged from who has committed suicide to how you want to help. For example, a silver necklace meant military in relation to you has committed suicide or a dark blue necklace meant you want to help spread the message of suicide prevention. “The walk brought everyone closer together. I never felt awkward in the crowd, and I even met a bunch of new people,” said junior Emily Knight, “The people surrounding you, the people you walked with created a safe haven type of feeling.” This was Knight’s second year participating in the walk, and she agreed that it is well worth the time in order to raise awareness for a cause that has affected this area, specifically within the last three years.

“The amount of people that came together for such an important cause, it astonished me,” said freshman Rebecca Cremmins, “I never realized how many people suicide affected.” According to Dosomething.org, a website that helps spread awareness for suicide internationally, “Each suicide intimately affects at least six people” and, “Nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year.” If six people are affected intimately, not considering those who still cared, there are 180,000 people in America alone who are affected by suicide. “There are so many people in this world that love you. Suicide should never be an option,” said freshman Stevie McConkey, “Think about how many people you meet a day and how many you affect every week. Everyone of those people will miss you.”

The total amount of money raised at this event was $133,978. The money goes towards many studies including behavioral studies that contribute to suicide, and many other programs that include AFSP films that are distributed to high schools about the signs of suicide.

In final words, suicide is not to be taken lightly. The awareness of this walk needs to be broadcasted worldwide. Please go to  https://afsp.org/ for more information about taking action in regards to suicide.

Yearly, suicide affects 30,000 people in the United States. Students came together listening to other’s stories, personally, how suicide has affected them and walked four miles around Annapolis. “The walk gave such an important message, the signs need to be broadcasted everyone for everyone to know,” said junior Kiersten Crowley. | Photo by Shelby Chasser.
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