FAIRBANKS, Alaska The 8th Annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk will bring the community together to honor lives lost by suicide and work towards preventing future deaths. Board Member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Alaska Chapter, Morgan Clay says they are expecting about 700 people to attend the walk this year.
"We're gonna start the morning off with the resource booth area, which is one of my favorite parts about our walk, it's a chance for our community to come out and see what's available as far as support groups and clubs for schools and things like that, so we really do have quite a bit that are coming out," said Clay.
The walk raises awareness of how many people are impacted by suicide, said Clay. "Our honor beads come in many different colors, I wear orange beads because I've lost a sibling to suicide, I also wear green beads because I personally struggle with depression. So everyone has an opportunity to wear their beads and kind of strike up a conversation with others that are around them during opening ceremonies, to really see how many of us are impacted in very similar ways by mental health and suicide."
It also raises funds for future suicide prevention efforts through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
"I think people want to feel a part of something and know how they can help to prevent suicide, we all play a part in preventing suicide, to be quite honest, whether it's talking about your own personal story and opening up to people and saying 'I've been impacted by suicide and this is how, or I struggle with a mental illness and this is what it feels like for me, it opens up a conversation and really you become a resource ... and that's part of this walk too is just being comfortable with the fact that other people have felt the same things and if we share those stories, more lives can be saved," said Clay.
Clay says that in recent years, more people are participating who might be currently struggling with mental health issues.
Registration for walkers starts at 9 a.m. and The Out of the Darkness Community Walk will start with an opening ceremony at 10:45 am at Griffin Park next to Morris Thompson Center on Dunkel Street.