Out of the Darkness: Members of the Commmunity Walk to Raise Suicide Awareness

Senior+Sushmitha+Tamilselvan+and+junior+Jonathan+Garcia+participate+in+the+2014+Out+of+the+Darkness+walk.+--Elissa+Britt

Senior Sushmitha Tamilselvan and junior Jonathan Garcia participate in the 2014 Out of the Darkness walk. --Elissa Britt

Senior Sushmitha Tamilselvan and junior Jonathan Garcia participate in the 2014 Out of the Darkness walk. --Elissa Britt
Senior Sushmitha Tamilselvan and junior Jonathan Garcia participate in the 2014 Out of the Darkness walk. –Elissa Britt

Over 500 people walked the streets of Columbia, Md. on Oct. 18 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) Out of the Darkness community walk. AFSP is the leading private financial sponsor for suicide research.

The walk is “dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide,” according to the AFSP website. This was the fifth annual walk hosted in Columbia, but the first time that over $50,000 was raised.

Fifteen people from the RHS community attended the event. The students formed a group called “The Light Squad,” led by senior Martin Mitchell. Mitchell is also a member of NHS, and students in NHS and SADD were encouraged to attend the walk. NHSa�� chapter project this year is to raise $5,000 for the AFSP.

One of the participants, senior Sushmitha Tamilselvan said, “This walk is a way to show support. To say that “you are not alone.a�� I was able to show my support to the people I care about. To know that there is a caring community of supporters means the world to me.”

The walk started at the Columbia Lakefront. Groups, individuals and families walked not only to express that suicide is preventable, but also for loved ones who have suffered from depression or mental illness, or died due to suicide.

“I walked because I know many people who have been depressed and attempted suicide,” senior NHS member Anna Walker said.

The AFSP Maryland chapter has raised over $500,000 for suicide research. This includes Interactive Screening Programs that are present at many universities and workplaces.

AFSP board member Sara Tagget said, “We designed this walk a�� so people can see that we have to stop the silence about suicide. Otherwise, people will not get the help they need.”