Suicide Awareness Walks 

Georgia Kirkendall

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. No one wants to talk about it, but we have to –  – the ramifications are just too significant. Thankfully, measures are being taken in the name of suicide prevention. Are you noticing a bunch of billboards and signs tacked onto just about anything, everywhere you go? This past September, which was National Suicide Prevention Month, as well as October, Connecticut is stepping up its game when it comes to community action. On October 3rd in the Hamden Town Center Park, more than 450 people came to participate in the annual “Out of the Darkness” awareness walk, raising over $35,000. It was hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and donations can still be made at AFSP Out of the Darkness Community

Adolescents compose the largest group of victims when it comes to suicide rates. They are more prone to mood swings, anxiety, and extreme forms of depression. A new club at Hamden High, called the Active Minds Club, is meeting regularly in room D305 to spread awareness and de-stigmatize mental health. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one, or if this simply interests you, please consider joining or attending a meeting. As always, club announcements can be found throughout the school on the notice boards. 

A common misconception is that suicide happens to strangers and not those who we know. Within the immediate population surrounding us, chances are that one, if not more, have suffered or are currently suffering mentally. One family who attended the walk on October 3rd lost a son to suicide in 2019, who was a former Hamden High football player. His parents described their son Malik as “the smallest kid, the toughest kid, with the biggest heart.”

Hamden High cheerleaders cheered for the families and other walkers during the Out of the Darkness Walk, and if you want to participate as well, AFSP will be hosting more walks to come this month. Upcoming events can be found here. Know as well that if you yourself are struggling, Hamden High has excellent resources and various counseling options, including psychologists. Or if you’d rather find help outside of the school, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and the Crisis Text Line: 741741, are always competent resources.