Rain or shine, the Out of the Darkness walk brings the community together
June 4, 2017
In cooperation with various community organizations, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Grosse Pointe community came together in support of suicide awareness during the Out of the Darkness Walk. Not even the rain could stop parents, teachers, counselors and students from both Grosse Pointe North and South high schools from participating in the walk on Sunday, June 4.
Steve Windom, the AFSP area director for Michigan, said the national organization is the direct benefit of the fundraising for the walk.
“Those dollars that we raise for the walk, the beads we’re giving out and all the materials are put on through the AFSP, and it’s cool because all the money that we raise, half of it stays local for the community to utilize with programming here in Grosse Pointe,” Windom said.
There are various reasons events like the Out of the Darkness walk benefit the community, Windom said.
“They’re a place for healing,” Windom said. “They’re a place for those who have had a loss to suicide to heal. They’re a place for those who struggle with a mental illness to find that they have a community of their own, that they’re not to be stigmatized, and that they’re not on their own.”
The walk also provided different resources for the community to reach to. Over 13 different local organizations stationed at various tables in the Boll Center, including Beaumont Hospital, the Grosse Pointe Public Library, Eastside Clinic and Breckels Massage Therapy.
Wayne State representatives were also in attendance, offering free screenings for depression, according to Wayne State staff member Heather Doherty.
“We’re talking about how college is different from high school, how to get help if you need it. That’s the most important thing, knowing what to look for if someone is talking suicide, that’s usually a really bad sign,” Doherty said. “We want students to be able to know what to look for in their friends, and also to be aware of what to look for in themselves.”
The walk itself was a 2.5 mile-long trail toward Grosse Pointe Academy and down Lakeshore, circling back toward the school, according to staff volunteer Lanie Fitzpatrick ‘17.
Eve Feldman ‘17, a North student, braved a shortened version of the trail in crutches.
“It means a lot, especially for those who suffer through a mental illness. I’ve had friends go through, it’s been hard watching them. And I just wanted to demonstrate that I’m here for them,” Feldman said.
As a student who has dealt with a hard time in their life, Cinderella Ksebati ‘17 said it’s important to make sure that information about mental health is spread to the entire community.
“I think it’s important for them to see all the resources that they have, and know that they’re not alone,” Ksebati said.
Resources for suicide prevention:
- National suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- Grosse Pointe South Counseling Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
- Grace Church Counseling Center: Mondays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.