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