September marks Suicide Awareness Week

Out of the Darkness Walk coming to Daphne

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The City of Daphne will host the 11th Annual South Alabama Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Sunday, Oct. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. in front of Daphne City Hall on Main Street. The net proceeds from the event will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. At least 110 teams were formed in 2019 (the last “in person” walk) and were joined by many friends and family members. Lydia Barber, coordinator of the Out of the Darkness Walk, explained that each walk site has its own unique remembrance activity in which you can participate to honor a loved one. A Memory Wall and table will be set up at the Daphne Walk so pictures, poems and messages can be displayed. There will also be music, food, informational booths and activities for the kids. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them. There will be a water and treat station for pets and bandanas available for purchase. Organizers of the Daphne walk include a special moment at the end of each walk. “There will be a beautiful butterfly release at the end to represent hope,” Barber said. Attendees will be encouraged to maintain social distancing, and wear masks, but they will not be mandated. AFSP will not be verifying vaccination status at the Out of the Darkness Walks, however people will be asked to stay home if they are sick or exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 or seasonal flu. The goal is to continue to provide a safe environment for the participants and volunteers, while following public health advice and applicable laws. “In order to keep lines and crowding at a minimum and to help with social distancing, we are asking everyone to register and donate ahead of the event date,” Barber said. Those who are pre-registered will not be asked to check in. Those who register the day of the event can use a QR code that day, posted on flyers around the venue, to register and donate. If you pre-register online, you will receive a fundraising page. When you share this page on social media and raise $150 by the day of the event, an official 2021 “Walk to Fight Suicide” t-shirt will be mailed to you after the event. Suicide is a national health problem that takes an enormous toll on family, friends, coworkers, and the entire community. In the United States, a person dies by suicide every 14 minutes, claiming more than 40,000 lives each year. It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute; with close to one million people attempting suicide annually. “Suicide touches one in five American families. 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,” Barber said. “With your help, let’s raise awareness, stop the stigma and let’s save lives!” If you would like to form a team, join a team or walk on your own, and donate, please go to afsp.org/Daphne. Registration is FREE! For further information, please email Barber at lydiabarber1@gmail.com.
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