Walk to raise awareness of suicide

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2008

NATCHEZ — Each step taken during the Community Walk for Suicide Prevention will work to erase a stigma and fund a program that researches a killer that takes over 32,000 lives a year.

The walk is something organizer Erin Sessions said is long overdue.

After losing her father to suicide six years ago, Sessions said she got involved in support groups and garnered interest in doing something about suicide and depression.

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She said she’s wanted to have a walk in the community for several years because she knew there was a need for awareness.

“The more I’ve worked on this the more I realize there is a need,” she said.

Sessions said raising awareness can help lessen the stigma that’s attached to depression.

People that are depressed are scared to talk about it,” she said. “You want to erase that stigma because they need to ask for help.”

Sessions said a lot of the stigma has to do with people thinking that depression is linked with mental issues.

“A lot of people think that people are just crazy or there’s something wrong with them,” she said.

In fact, she said statistics show that most people suffering from depression are the ones that seem to have their lives together.

Another reason for raising awareness is to build up a support group for families who have lost a loved one due to suicide.

“Eventually we’d like to get some survivor groups started here,” she said.

Raising money is not a requisite for participating in the walk, Sessions said.

“You don’t have to raise a dime to walk,” she said.

But raising money is very much welcomed and prizes will be given for different amounts raised.

Sessions said approximately 50 people have signed up to participate in the walk on Nov. 8, but she’s expecting an influx as the date draws closer.

Registration the day of begins at 9 a.m. and the walk at 10 a.m.

Registration for participation is on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevent Web site at www.outofthedarkness.com.