LIVERPOOL, N.Y. – Hundreds of Central New Yorkers united together in Long Branch Park in Liverpool Saturday morning. The Out of the Darkness walk aimed to raise funds and awareness about the preventability of suicide, as well as support those who have lost someone by suicide or struggle with harmful thoughts themselves.
The walk is just one of over 550 walks held by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention this year. On average, there are 130 suicides per day and over 1.2 million suicide attempts in 2020. The walk provides a safe and brave space before, during, and after the event for all to share their stories, and a sense of hope and healing for everyone who participates.
Karen Heisig, the area director for the Central New York chapter, has been working with AFSP since the loss of her husband to suicide in 2006.
“In 2006, no one knew the warning signs or the risk factors, because we weren’t talking about it…That is my passion–is talking about it and bringing it out of the darkness,” Heisig said.
Heisig says AFSP and the ‘Out of the Darkness’ walks have been growing more every year, but there is still more work to be done.
“Bigger and better every year! We’re never gonna do it all completely right, but we will do our best, and we can’t wait to be back next year.”
As of publication, the foundation has raised over $140,000 this year and is accepting donations until the end of the year.
The annual event has become a beacon of hope for countless families and friends affected by suicide and will continue to work to destigmatize the conversation on mental health in the years to come.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 or text TALK to 741741.