Out of the Darkness Overnight: A Walk to Raise Awareness about Suicide

Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk

Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk

It is happening right here,  in my hometown of Chicago! The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is sponsoring an overnight walk  June 27-28 to raise awareness about suicide. The symbolism involved in walking all night seems very powerful and moving to me.

The Out of the Darkness Overnight brings together people with depression and other mental disorders, survivors of suicide loss, mental health professionals and advocates walking side-by-side, arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand, all walking through the night to prevent loss of life from suicide. Net proceeds will benefit AFSP, to fund research, education, survivor and awareness programs — both to prevent suicide and to assist those impacted by suicide.

I first learned of this event from a Twitter acquaintance, Amy, who will be participating. What makes this even more remarkable is that she lives with a chronic illness and pain. You can read more about her story here and listen to an interview here.

Suicide impacts many.  I have written elsewhere about how LGBT communities and youth are impacted.  Research has shown that lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents attempt suicide at a rate three to six times that of comparably aged heterosexual youth.  In my work with trauma survivors I am all too familiar with what can drive a person to believe that this is a viable option, or the only way to finally escape the pain.  As a therapist, I hold onto hope when others cannot. I firmly believe that there are always other solutions; help in finding them is available.

For more information on suicide, prevention and resources see:


If you or someone you know is suicidal right now call 1-800-SUICIDE

For Worldwide support contact Befrienders.org

Kathleen Young, Psy.D.

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15 Responses to Out of the Darkness Overnight: A Walk to Raise Awareness about Suicide

  1. Amy Kiel says:

    Dear Kathleen,
    I am honored to be featured in your post, but I am most excited by the awareness, hope and help you offer the world! In your practice, in your blog, on twitter, and I’m sure in your every day life . . . you are giving those who suffer a voice and a safe place to heal. I feel very blessed that our paths have crossed!
    Looking forward to more opportunities to raise awareness, fight stigma, and bring hope to others together.

  2. bluestockingsrs says:

    Thanks for posting about this, I have always wanted to participate in this walk. I have my own history with suicide and I think it is important to bring attention to it.

    • kyoungpsyd says:


      thank for commenting! I think any time someone acknowledges that suicide has impacted them it helps to decrease stigma.

      Maybe Chicago 2010??? 🙂

  3. Seth says:

    Always wonderful when someone brings to the forefront the impact of suicide. Thank you.

    I did the walk last year in Seattle to honor my brother who I lost 10 years ago to suicide this coming August. I’ve been wanting to do it and finally was able to. It was overwhelming in so many ways… and yet was so empowering.

    I hope the turnout is amazing as it was in Seattle and elsewhere it has taken place.

    Much appreciation… Seth

  4. Bejart says:

    So good that you are spreading the word. Awareness of the impact of suicide on our LBGT community as well as our human community needs to get out there.

    The 99 bridge next to my work is second in the nation for suicides only to the Golden Gate. Having witnessed 3 suicides in my time here has had a tremendous personal, emotional impact. It also brings to light the incredible toll it must take on emergency responders.

    I didn’t walk last year but attended the opening and closing ceremonies. One of the speakers at the Seattle walk had lost their son on the 99 bridge; we really are a circle of humanity.

    • kyoungpsyd says:

      Thanks so much for posting, Bejart!

      You remind me of something I talk about with clients when they are struggling with suicidal feelings and the belief that it wouldn’t matter. We never know whose lives we touch or how we impact them. The ripple effect of a tragedy like suicide can be far reaching. How true is the reverse as well: that just by living each day we have the opportunity to make a positive difference to others.

      Yes! to the circle of humanity!

  5. Natalie Stevens says:

    This is great to raise awareness about Suicide, wish I was in Chicago to walk also but won’t be able to make it…

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  7. Susannah says:

    There was this amazing curly haired, blue eyed man who made a HUGE impact on my life. He taught me many things about life and love. Sadly, he passed away from suicide on January 4, 2009. I will be at the 2010 walk (wherever it may be)! I will walk in his memory, and I will walk to reduce the stigma that too often comes along with just the mention of the word suicide. There’s help out there, but those of us who have attempted (yes, I’ve been in that boat before too), have to know where to turn in that moment. One thing that I struggled with in my own battle with depression and suicidal thoughts was when I did reach out to mental health professionals and even to the local hospital, doors got slammed in my face. But I kept reaching out because I knew I needed help and fast! I think we also need to train mental health professionals to realize that when someone is that low, they need help ASAP in any way, shape, or form, and too often, the end result is a grieving family. Thank you for all that you do Dr. Young.

    • Susannah-

      How wonderful, to remember your friend by walking for him.

      I am deeply troubled by your story of reaching out and not finding adequate help. That is far too common still! Yes, there is much work to do even within the mental health profession. Thanks goodness you kept trying!

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