Walkers raise awareness, funds for suicide prevention at Veterans Park

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- Walkers raised awareness and funds for suicide prevention and mental health at the 'Out of the Darkness' walk by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The Milwaukee walk took place at the Veterans Park Sunday morning, Oct. 10.

More than 1900 people were a part of this effort which focuses on bringing people together to create awareness on mental health and suicide prevention.

Everyone at the Milwaukee Out of the Darkness walk has a personal connection to this effort. The walk was back in person this year and happened on World Mental Health Day.

Now more than ever people who were part of this event say it's important to check in with one another and share the message of hope.

"Don't go through this alone. If you're struggling, reach out for help. If you know somebody who's struggling, reach out to them because sometimes that's all it takes is just a little outreach," said Abe Goldberg.

This effort hits close to home for Abe and Beverly Goldberg. Their daughter, Abby, died by suicide eight years ago. She was 13-years-old. They say it's important to raise awareness and let people know there is help out there.

"As we've been through the pandemic, needs for mental health are growing and just making sure that people know that there are resources out there and that you can talk about it and you can seek help," said Beverly.

Gena Orlanado, the Wisconsin area director of the foundation, said they have noticed that more people are speaking up and getting help.

"More people than ever are reaching out for help. More people are calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. More people are reaching out to others because they know that this is a time of mental health struggle," said Orlando.

Jo Ann Blake's son, Travis, died by suicide two months ago. It’s a loss that they continue to grieve. It was important for them to do this walk in his memory.

"Travis was a very wonderful, wonderful young man. He was 22-years-old and we never knew that there was a problem. Just to see all these people who are touched by this awareness and not knowing what we know now, whatever we can do to help anybody else, this event is important for that," said Blake.

"An event like this really kind of brings people together in a spirit of hope and inspiration that you're not alone in this," said Goldberg.

People at the walk say its important to end the stigma that comes with mental health. They encourage people to speak up and to not be afraid to ask for help

"Open your mouth, reach out to someone. Even if it's a subtle thought, say something. There is people within your circle and there are resources out there that can help you," said Dr. Camilia L. Clark, her nephew died by suicide.

There is still time to donate to the cause. The foundation is taking donations through the end of December. Click here to donate.

If you or a loved one needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.


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