Annual Out of Darkness walk in Agawam kicks off

Hampden County

The annual “Out of the Darkness Walk ” was held in Agawam Saturday morning.

One in five families in the United States is affected by suicide.

In the past, more people in Massachusetts have lost their lives to suicide than homicide and car accidents combined. Numbers that speak louder than words.

Words that often go unsaid for those suffering from depression and mental illness.

Heather White of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention told 22News, “Days like today, when you have almost 1500-2000 people coming together to say ‘I’ve experienced a loss to suicide, I’ve had my own personal struggles,’ It’s a great day of empowerment to let people realize they are not alone in this.”

The out of the darkness walk brought thousands to School Street Park in Agawam to remember friends and family members who lost their lives to suicide.

Volunteer Cristiana Noonan told 22News, “I lost my father to suicide about four years ago now, and it was a very shocking experience for our family, but through that we turned it around and we’re making it something postive so we can help others.”

The walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which helps inform people on mental illness and depression.

Bill Rollin, who lost his son to suicide, told 22News, “It’s rewarding, comforting and very therapeutic to see other families have gone through the same things you’ve gone through and are going through, so it’s great for us to do this.”

Those who participated also wore special beads in honor of the different siblings, parents and friends they walked for.

22News anchor Ashley Afonso was the MC of Saturday’s walk.

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