PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Struggling individuals and those who have lost a loved one came out to Princeton City Park to give honor, raise awareness, and help in the prevention of lives lost to suicide, a leading cause of death affecting over 700,000 people each year.
“What we try to do here is honor those that we have lost to suicide as well as support, and give love and hope to those who have lived experience and struggled that we are trying to keep here,” says West Virginia Chair of AFSP, Cindy Stagg.
Hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk is more than a walk but a support system for those who have somehow been affected by suicide, offering them a chance to share their stories with those who understand the most.
“We want people to take their time, take it slow, talk to each other, tell each other their stories, get to know each other, offer support, and make connections, let people know that they have connections here in their own community,” she says.
Brandi lost her mother to suicide in 2018, and ever since then, she has been attending these walks to not only honor her mother’s memory but to shed some light on the struggle behind mental illness. And she feels like these walks help to uplift a community of people who all have their own suicide stories to tell.
“It makes those of us who have lost someone to suicide feel like we are part of a community, to feel connected to others who have lost someone to suicide, it helps us feel supported, and just loved,” Brandi Fain says.
Each of these stories was represented through different colors, each color representing a different person’s life.
Eight of these Out of the Darkness Walks have been taking place throughout West Virginia. The next major event the organization plans to host is International Survivors of Suicide Day on November 20. You can visit afsp.org to find out more.