Editor’s Note: TW *Suicide. Call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or if you’ve struggled with suicide ideation.
On September 30th, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is holding its Out of the Darkness Walk in Santa Cruz. Everyone is invited. These walks take place nationwide and were created to support those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and communicate that suicide is preventable and that no one is alone.
I’m 42 years young, and I have discovered that I am not alone when I feel I don’t belong. People from all walks of life have felt othered. I often hear people say to each other, “Don’t be sad. Don’t think that way; you have your children to live for.” In my experience, being dependent on someone else to fill the void of not belonging doesn’t work. We must fill that void for ourselves.
Many people have taken their lives, and they have also had beautiful family, friends, a good job, etc. So, when I say that mental health is a priority, this is what I’m talking about. A safe space to process our emotions and experiences is a must. So many people struggle to find peace within. The more we stop shaming and trying to slap a band-aid on their struggles and start holding space for one another, the less suicides, self-harm, and violence we will see in our world.
If you have ever been to a community event that supports suicide prevention, you know how uplifting these events are. When you are present and look around, you see, feel, and know that you share a common purpose.
The Out of the Darkness Walks create and expand community; from what I can see, we all could benefit from being in healthy connection and community. I hope you all will join us this September to spread awareness about mental health and suicide prevention and to help take the shame off these topics by speaking up.
By joining us, you are helping to create authentic, lasting connections and paving the way for a brighter future for yourself, our children, and us all.
For more information, please visit https://afsp.org or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.