By Courtney Yanks
“I did donate, but not only money; I donated my time, I walked with amazing people that I spent time listening and relating to. I met so many strong people that afternoon, and I can not wait till next year to attend another one,” sophomore Hali Watts said.
On May 6, a beautiful Saturday afternoon, many gathered to bring awareness to a problem occurring not only in Blue Springs but around the country: teen suicide.
Over 150 Blue Springs residents came out to Blue Springs South High school to support the “Out of the Darkness” walk for suicide. “Out of the Darkness” walk is ran by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
“Originally I came just to support the cause. I personally haven’t been affected by a family member or friend that’s lost their life to suicide. But after being there for awhile, and talking to people that have been affected by suicide, it was more than just supporting it,” sophomore Hali Watts said.
Many families in attendance have been personally affected by teen suicide, including the Boyd, Smith and the Hammon family. The walk began at noon at South, where participants could buy t-shirts, enter raffles, and even take photos in the photo booth.
“Although it is an extremely sad event, that no one wished to be at, they had a positive way of bringing it up, with raffles and silly photo booths,” sophomore Savana Lewis said.
According to AFSP, one out of four people are affected by mental health conditions. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S and over 44,000 people die a year to suicide. These statistics are staggering to some.
“At the walk, there were multiple booths set up with pictures and stories of people that had committed suicide, there were people walking around with buttons on their shirts of people that had committed too. I don’t think people notice how big of an occurrence this is. I didn’t till that afternoon,” Watts said.
AFSP had a goal of reaching 1,000 dollars, and with over 200 particulates signed up, they raised 8,334 dollars for suicide awareness.
“I did donate, but not only money; I donated my time, I walked with amazing people that I spent time listening and relating to. I met so many strong people that afternoon, and I can not wait till next year to attend another one,” Watts said.
“For anyone who didn’t go, I would recommend going next year. It’s extremely hard to read and hear the stories about lost ones, but it connects you to people in our community, it makes you feel grateful. This walk really did impact me,” Lewis said.