INDIANAPOLIS — In this article, suicide prevention is mentioned. If you are struggling with your mental health, please reach out and call the National Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 988.
Indianapolis hosted its first “Out of the Darkness” community walk in 2006 with about 150 walkers.
Today, 17-years-later, nearly 6,000 walkers gathered in Military Park for the event.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) began organizing Out of the Darkness walks in 2004 as a way for people to physically come together and open up about their connections to suicide, grief and mental health struggles in their community.
“Everybody’s journey is different, but those with lived experience who may struggle do find hope in hearing other people’s stories and how they were able to get through it,” Kelsey Aaron, the AFSP Indiana executive director, said.
Aaron says sharing our stories and supporting one another is key.
Volunteers helped decorate sidewalks with encouraging messages and numbers to important mental health hotlines.
Aaron says the Out of the Darkness walks are for everyone, for any reason. The event is family-friendly and has a lot of moving parts.
“We have people of all ages from all over the state attending. We’re excited to see everybody come together to support this important cause,” Aaron said.
The Out of the Darkness walk also had community resource booths and vendors with information on how to get mental health help for attendees or their loved ones.
If you are interested in learning more about AFSP and the Out of the Darkness walks, visit afsp.org. It's free to sign up and create a team for any of the Out of the Darkness walks in the country.