People across the nation are walking to support suicide prevention and awareness and on Saturday the Carter County community took to the trails of Regional Park for the cause.
Jamie Johnson led the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk with more than 100 registered walkers, young and old, showing up in support. This year marks the organization’s third annual walk in Ardmore— which brought in a total of over $9,300 for AFSP.
The proceeds go towards raising awareness and pushing legislation to create more programs designed to help those struggling with mental health and thoughts of suicide, Johnson said.
“Your brain is a body part, it needs help, too. It needs to be noticed, it needs to be recognized and they’re fighting for that,” Johnson said. “So that when people are struggling and they’re in their deepest, darkest moments, there can be programs and it be acknowledged instead of being ignored.”
Those participating organized themselves into teams, each honoring a specific friend or family member who had been lost to suicide. Johnson said her team, Fighting for Faith, was created in honor of her daughter who passed away three years ago.
“We want to try to help others know that one, they’re not alone and two, that if you are struggling with these feelings and feel like that, then there is a community out here that will support you,” Johnson said.
The sheer number of people who were at the walk demonstrates how many people are impacted by suicide, she said. And although suicide can be a difficult topic to discuss, Johnson said she hopes events like this helps others realize they are not alone and that help is available.
“You’re worth being here, you need to be here and we’ll do whatever we can to help,” Johnson said. “There are people out there who are struggling with this and we want anyone who feels like they can’t say anything out loud to be able to come here and know that we’re here, there is support and they’re not alone by any means.”
For help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.