Out of the Darkness Walk

In early September I was taking the T to campus when I noticed a poster that said #stopsuicide, normally I don’t notice the ads posted around the T but... I noticed this one. I wanted to do something that mattered,something that would make a difference. I chose this walk because mental illness and suicidal ideation is something that I’ve personally struggled with for over 10 years. We walk to support mental health and to encourage healthy conversations about suicide.

On November 3rd, 2018, I was lucky enough to partake in the Out of the Darkness Boston Area Walk organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This organization has a bold goal of reducing the suicide rate 20% by the year 2025. While each of the lovely women that made up our team of eight, lead by fellow Emmanuel College senior Helena Stahl, have their own ties and connection to the topic of suicide, we all came together in the hopes of helping AFSP to reach their bold goal. I am so proud to have built a team of seven beautiful women and collectively we were able to raise $2,745 for suicide prevention. The AFSP Boston Chapter has raised $384,702.

We were joined by nearly 2,000 individuals all walking for suicide prevention. The day of the walk was not one that had ideal weather, it was torrential downpouring the majority of the morning. Despite this less than ideal weather, the four of us who were able to attend the walk, arrived bright and early ready to walk through puddles that were ankle deep for a cause that we truly believe in.. AFSP uses honor beads to show the personal connection we have to the cause and to help us identify others who understand our experience.The colors of these beads shows our personal connection to the cause; purple symbolizing the loss of a relative or friend, green symbolizing a personal struggle or attempt, blue symbolizing the overall support of suicide prevention and teal symbolizing a friend or family member who has struggled or attempted. That day, we saw that mental illness and suicide affects people of all ages. It was a day filled with both sadness and hope. AFSP community walks are more than just walks, it’s hope, it’s a community, its strength.

By sharing our story, we hope that others will share theirs. We want to end the stigma around mental health and help break the silence around suicide. We need to do more than just share a hotline number, we need to be active listeners. Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (AFSP.org)

If you would like to make a donation the link to our donation page is below. Click “roster” and choose a team member to donate to. Donations are accepted until December 31st 2018.  All donations go to funding research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide.

https://afsp.donordrive.com/team/Walkthisway

Credit: Helena Stahl

From left to right: Téa Pappas, Helena Stahl, Lisa Carcenaro, Alison Hannigan​

Credit: Helena Stahl