Suffolk walks to prevent suicide

Published 9:34 pm Monday, October 25, 2021

Suffolk gathered on a sunny fall morning to walk for hope.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention held its fifth annual Out of the Darkness Walk on Oct. 23 at Bennett’s Creek Park.

This walk is a time for the community to come together to raise awareness and bring hope to those affected by suicide. The day also serves as a fundraiser for ASFP to conduct research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support the survivors of suicide loss.

“We’re here for the community to know they are not alone,” said Logan Crews, co-chair for the event. “We are very thankful for all the support we’ve had.”

Folks came with their families, friends and dogs to form teams and remember those lost to suicide and build hope to reduce it. Many walkers had shirts, signs or buttons that honored the loved ones lost to suicide. Others had slogans like “it’s OK not to be OK.”

After the opening remarks, participants walked five laps around the loop at Bennett’s Creek Park. Each lap stood for ways to prevent suicide while coming alongside those struggling. Each lap, the front walker picked up a sign with the word for that lap. The five words were passion, community, harmony, well-being and impact.

“This is a great turn out today and great weather,” said Rachel Richmond, AFSP Virginia board member. “It’s great we can do a lot of community outreach.”

According to the AFSP, suicide is the ninth leading cause of death. It is a public health issue that can affect anyone.

The walk raised over $24,000 and had 233 participants and 30 teams. The AFSP’s goal for this year is $60,000. Giving is open until Dec. 31. To make a donation, visit afsp.org/suffolk.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-8255.