The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosted a walk to fund raise and raise awareness, called Out of the Darkness, in San Luis Obispo. AFSP is doing some amazing work in the mental health field right now, and I got to learn a little more about their organization and goals!
There are many reasons I felt it necessary to participate in this walk, and many reasons I feel it absolutely necessary for me to contribute to suicide prevention. Some of these include supporting others close to me who I know have struggled with suicidal thoughts or self-harm, a new friend who died, and personal struggles of my own.
I registered myself online and kept the date in my planner for over a month, all the while trying to raise a little bit of money (at least) for the organization I was walking with.
One of the ways I support suicide prevention in my community is volunteering for a suicide crisis center!
I've learned so much about crisis, the reality of mental health, and suicide. The supervisor of the program, Mike, got to speak at the beginning of the walk, during the resource fair!
I looked throughout the tables and booths and tried to participate and grab as many resources and free little trinkets (lol) as I could. I even bought my dog Morty an AFSP bandanna, and a cute tote bag (mainly because all of the papers and trinkets were getting annoying to hold).
Colored necklaces to reduce stigma around suicide!
White- Loss of a child
Red- Loss of a spouse or partner
Gold- Loss of a parent
Orange- Loss of a sibling
Purple- Loss of a relative or friend
Silver- Loss of a first responder/military
Green- A personal struggle or attempt
Blue- Supporting suicide prevention
Teal- A friend or family member of someone who struggles or has attempted
The colored necklaces show others who may have experienced the same thing, that they're not alone. It destroys the shame, fear, stigma, and isolation that may be associated with suicide.
Provided by one of the tables were paper hearts, stickers, markers, and string to write down a memory, honor a person, etc. Also provided, was a paper you could stick on your shirt with a name of someone you were walking for.
I want to encourage everyone to get involved in suicide prevention in their communities. It is such an important yet under-recognized issue in our society, and the more people get involved and have open dialogues around suicide, the faster we can find the best preventative measures.
Watch the video!
Here are some more pictures from the walk!
Did you like the colored necklaces idea, and do you think it's a beneficial way to reduce stigma and isolation around suicide?
I, personally, think it's very creative, and would very much help with the shameful stigma and damaging isolation surrounding suicide, suicide attempts, loss from suicide, and suicidal thoughts.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and if you're feeling up to it, share what color necklace(s) you'd wear to the walk! Here are mine:
Check out the AFSP website! If you, or anyone you know, ever needs to talk don't hesitate to send me a message. I'll be writing a post soon on what you can do to help with suicide prevention, and the warning signs needed to take action! If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to call the national hotline: