Over 200 participants throughout Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, and nearby communities walked in the 6th Annual Emerald Coast Out of the Darkness Community Walk hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Florida Panhandle Chapter
on November 3rd at John Beasley Park on Okaloosa Island.
Donna Williamson, Chapter and Event Chair said,
“These events provide a safe space for those who have lost someone to suicide to come together and not feel so alone. We are working to break the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues because the more we talk about it, the more we can do to stop it.
My sister and I started these walks five years ago and since then, we’ve built a thriving local chapter of AFSP working from Pensacola to Tallahassee, raised nearly $300,000 to support local initiatives and training to support suicide prevention efforts, and we are keeping the conversation going around suicide and loss. If we can help one person, one family, one community, then we have done our job.”
The Emerald Coast Out of the Darkness Walk
is one of nearly 600 Out of the Darkness Community Walks hosted across all 50 states. The walks are expected to unite more than 250,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts. Funds raised during the event support bringing programs like Talk Saves Lives and More Than Sad to the local community and bring AFSP one step closer to their goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.
“Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental health conditions.”