Out of Darkness: Annual walk raises awareness, money for suicide prevention
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Hundreds of people walked to raise awareness of suicide prevention on Sunday at the annual “Out of the Darkness Walk” at the Troy University track.
Debbie Leonard opened the walk by talking about the importance of suicide prevention in the light of her 14-year-old son Kyle’s suicide two years ago.
“We wanted to honor our child’s life so we began a scholarship at his high school and began ROK Productions to bring Christian music to our area,” Leonard said. “We want to use that as a platform to share hope in spite of the issue of suicide.”
Leonard praised the attendees at the walk for taking the time to bring awareness to suicide prevention.
“I see you guys as warriors in this battle,” Leonard said. “You have an awesome opportunity to bring this issue out of the darkness. We have to create an atmosphere where it’s OK to talk about the tough stuff.”
For those who want to help support people going through depression, Leonard said the important task is to connect that person with professional help.
“Stats show that two out of three people going through depression do not get professional help,” Leonard said. “Depression lies to you. It tells you that people don’t love you. Professional help is needed to learn how to use the weapons that are available.”
About 500 people participated in the walk, led by those who had lost somebody to suicide. Several groups were in attendance to march in the memory of a lost loved one.
Information on symptoms of depression and professional help were available at the walk to educate people on how to help those suffering from depression.
According to preliminary numbers, the walk raised over $35,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy.
This is the second year that the walk has been hosted by Troy Regional Medical Center.