Volunteers across the country are organizing events this fall to support people who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. The Iowa “Out of the Darkness” community walk is next weekend, and organizer Anne Mease says while national events have been going on for years, this is Iowa’s first.
A group of about nine people got together in Iowa, and found a lot of help available from the AFSP, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The point of holding a community walk, she says, is to get the word out about suicide and its major cause — depression. She says the organizers want to show there’s support for survivors of suicide, and people who live with others suffering from depression, and those who’ve thought about suicide. “No one is alone,” she says. “There are people out there that are there to help, and to support you.”
Mease and a friend who also lost a loved one to suicide brought the idea home after taking part in a Chicago community walk for the cause. This first year of the Iowa walk is for survivors, she says. “It’s hard to be a suicide survivor, and you need to know that you’re not alone and that there are people out there that will help you and understand what you’re going through, and you’re going to make it, too.”
The walk begins on the north side of Ames, at an old gravel pit that’s been transformed into Ada Hayden Park. Mease hopes more Iowa communities organize walks of their own. She says it’s great that the first one’s in a college town, and will involve college kids, “and people of all ages.”
Local sponsors support the community walks. The Iowa walk in Ames takes place Saturday September 23. For more information surf to “Out of the Darkness dot-org .”
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Iowa “Out of the Darkness” walk