Out of the Darkness walk shows support for those touched by suicide

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Talking about someone who has taken their own life is hard even years later and those who struggle with mental illnesses can have a hard time finding the right support.

Families and friends share stories of loved ones they have lost to suicide. (KSNB)

But that is what the Out of the Darkness walk is all about; showing people they are not alone in their battle and their pain after a loss.

“We've seen sadness, we've seen laughter, we've seen tears and it's just a safe day for people to come together to know that they have support and thank the supporters for being there even if you haven't lost somebody,” Amy Reed, Co-Chair of the Nebraska Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention said.

The walk is in its second year and hundreds of people turned out at Eagle Scout Park in Grand Island. Families came with photos of their loved ones to show they are not forgotten.

One woman shared the story of her best friend Caleb who passed away just over a year ago.

“He was awesome, he was an amazing person in so many lives and he was just a ball of sunshine,” Volunteer Veronica Ontiveros said.

She said he would have loved an event like this and she is grateful for a place where it is accepted to openly talk about suicide and mental health.

“It kind of blows my mind how many people are here right now,” Ontiveros said. “I attended last year and there were a lot of people still but not this big of a turnout. We have also had suicide affect this town a lot within the last year.”

People put on colored beads to represent if they had lost someone, struggle themselves, or are there to support the cause.

“This is a non-judgmental area. We're all here to support you, we've all been through it we all understand,” Organizer Sandy Manfull said.

The organizers collected donations which will go towards the Nebraska chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They hope to expand their education in schools and form teams to help people going through a recent loss.

If you or someone you know is struggling consider contacting these resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
South Central Behavioral Services - Hastings area 402-463-5684
South Central Behavioral Services - Kearney area 308-237-5951
Mid Plains Center for Behavioral Healthcare 308-380-5973
Richard Young Behavioral Health Hospital 308-865-2000
Mary Lanning Healthcare Crisis Line 402-463-7711
National Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline 800-799-7233
Nebraska Abuse and Neglect Hotline 800-652-1999
Nebraska Family Helpline 888-866-8660
National Crisis Text Line “Go” 741-741