Out of the Darkness Walk to Raise Suicide Awareness

Evan Green, Managing Editor

The Huntington “Out of the Darkness” is set to take place on Oct. 9, 2022 at Ritter Park; and aims to combat the stigma around mental health and suicide in the Huntington area. 

The event is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, (AFSP) and is designed to raise awareness and funding for mental health and suicide prevention services.

“Many people’s introduction to AFSP comes through the Out of the Darkness Walks, taking place in cities nationwide,” the Out of the Darkness walk description on the AFSP website reads. “In our community, campus and overnight walks, those affected by suicide – and those who support them – raise awareness and much-needed funds, strongly sending the message that suicide is preventable, and that no one is alone.”

Registration for the Huntington walk begins at 1 p.m. and the walk itself will begin at 2 p.m. 

“It’s not a race. We all walk together and talk about our experiences with friends or family or even our own struggles with mental health,” Presley Slater, Marshall graduate and organizer of this year’s Huntington walk, said. “This walk raises awareness and brings people together in solidarity regarding the importance of mental health and supports those who struggle with their mental health.”

In the past, local mental health services have set up booths during the event to help distribute information and increase awareness of the various mental health resources in the area.

Suicide is currently the 12th leading cause of death in West Virginia, and is the second leading cause of death for West Virginians ages 10-34. According to the AFSP, 87.26% of West Virginia communities did not have enough mental health providers to serve their residents in 2021.

The walks take place in over 400 communities across the country, and have been taking place since the first walk in 2004.

The walk is not intended to be a test of endurance and stamina, but rather a way to connect community members so that they can discuss their mental health issues surrounded by supportive community members.