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14th Annual Out of the Darkness Walk

Published: Sep. 26, 2020 at 10:53 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of the Mid-Ohio Valley held their 14th annual Out of the Darkness Walk today at City Park in Parkersburg.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought changes to this unity of individuals affected by suicide in some way, but it didn’t stop organizers from raising awareness.

They wanted to have this event go on because of the impact that these unprecedented times have put on some people’s mental health. Especially considering the critical state the Mountain State stands in regards to suicide as the eighth-highest in the nation in suicide rate according to the CDC.

We’re feeling isolated and a lot of people weren’t having their group therapies or they weren’t able to go to their support groups or they were isolated from family and felt very alone. And we see that this is a calming experience for most people knowing they still have this platform to express themselves from.

Dr. Heather McCarter, Out of the Darkness Walk Coordinator

And the walk being canceled earlier this year was another blow to those who look forward to the event.

To think that this wasn’t going to happen in one sense or another. It was devastating to me. And I made so many phone calls to the state and Heather and everybody and I’m going, ‘We have to have a walk. We’ve got to do this.’ A year doesn’t go by where you don’t do this. And, no matter what we have to do we got to do it. Because it is so important. I mean, people like me we look so forward to this.

Jackie Scott, Out of the Darkness Walk Volunteer

LUCKILY FOR WALKERS, ORGANIZERS WERE LATER GIVEN PERMISSION TO HOLD THE EVENT UNDER CERTAIN CDC GUIDELINES.

Luckily for walkers such as Kathy McGee, whose family walks to remember her twin sister Becky Frederick, they are given a chance to do this with permission to hold the event.

We just want people to know that they’re not alone and there’s always help. And suicide just leaves baggage for your family members. It leaves guilt, anger, unanswered questions. The emotions, they do get easier, but will come back full force. And we just don’t want another family member have to go through this. What we have had to do... I just want people to know that there is help and suicide is not an answer.

Kathy McGee, Becky's Voice

There are some tweaks organizers had to make to go along with CDC guidelines. However, they are still able to help give those that look forward to this event the time that they need.

The Out of the Darkness Walk raised roughly $15 thousand in donations from the teams that attended today’s event.

If you or a loved one is at risk of harming themselves call the suicide hotline, 1-800-273-8255.

Copyright 2020 WTAP. All rights reserved.

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