Support Walk’s effort to prevent suicide

Published 2:46 pm Monday, October 29, 2018

Suicide is estimated to touch one in five American families, and I was recently added to that shockingly high number.

Like many others, I was left with memories of time spent with a good friend and questions about what I could have, or should have, done differently to help ensure a better outcome.

No one knows if anything could have helped in this particular situation, but I am now especially thankful for the work of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Alabama Chapter of which will host its annual Out of the Darkness Walk at 1 p.m. on Nov. 4 at Veterans Park off Valleydale Road in Hoover.

This walk supports the Foundation’s education and support programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20 percent by the year 2025.

“We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Nicole Mullis, Walk chairwoman.

Check-in for the Walk will begin at 1 p.m. on Nov. 4, with opening ceremonies scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. and the walk itself at 2:45 p.m. and then closing ceremonies.

The Alabama Out of the Darkness Community Walk is one of more than 550 Out of the Darkness Overnight, Community and Campus Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts.

Last year, this local walk raised over $148,000 and had over 1,800 participants.

The event will also include food trucks, games and valuable information, according to Alabama Chapter Area Director Mary Catherine Dunham.

Registration for the Walk is still available at Donations can be made at the site, too.

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better and our culture will get smarter about mental health. With the efforts of our courageous volunteers, and a real investment from our nation’s leaders, we hope to significantly reduce the suicide rate in the United States.”

Stephen Dawkins is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 524 or by email at