AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Saturday is the Greater Springfield Out of the Darkness Community Walk to prevent suicide hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. People gathered at School Street Park in Agawam, through rain or shine to fight against suicide.

Brenda Rivera from Connecticut is walking for her brother who battled with depression and mental illnesses, and took his life in 2021, “We are walking here to spread awareness and let everyone out there know it is not a stigma; you can ask for help. And we are here supporting them, and knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

The CDC reports that suicide rates increased by approximately 36% between 2000 and 2021. Suicide was responsible for over 48,000 deaths in 2021, about one every 11 minutes.

Organizers of the event say the goal is to spread awareness and let people know that the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is there to help them come out of the dark.

“It’s really a day that people who have been affected by suicide come together, whether they have had a loss themselves in their lives or they them self struggle, or are just here to support the cause and come out. And, that is where we have beads that recognize how our connection is and we get to know each other, and walk to fight suicide,” expressed Lyndsey Nunes, the Co-Chair of the Greater Springfield Out of the Darkness Community Walk.

Check-in for the event began at 10:00 a.m., the walk route was about three miles, and it was wheelchair and stroller-friendly.

Nunes said the goal of this walk is to raise $150,000 and donations can be made until December 31st. You can find out how to donate on their website. 22News is a proud sponsor of the walk, and even emceed the event.

Local News

Kiara Smith is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since March 2023. Follow Kiara on X @KiaraBSmith1 and view her bio to see more of her work.