Hundreds join the 'Out of the Darkness' walk

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Around 700 Fairbanksans came downtown to show bring awareness to suicide and mental health.

The Alaska Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, known as the AFSP, organized the walk to bring awareness to the problem.
"Having a mental illness is that topic that we've always kind of kept on this invisible shelf of taboo topics," said Morgan Clay, a board member with the AFSP. "And now it is something that we very much are bringing out of the darkness and we are shedding light and opening up this conversation about mental health and who is all effected by it, really we are all effected by mental health."

The walk not only raises awareness, but it can also help people dealing with their own mental health. Walkers wore beads to show how suicide has affected their lives. Different colored beads showed different ways their life has been impacted.

At the walk there was also resource booths where people could learn about help that is available. There was also a memorial garden to honor victims of suicide and 23 flags that represent the 23 service members and veterans that commit suicide each day in America.

Clay says that the biggest way to help people struggling is to just talk to them and be there for them. And for people who are struggling themselves, she says to find someone to talk to.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicide, go to afsp.org/alaska or call 1-800-273-8255.