Walk shines light on the tough topic of suicide

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Dozens of people took a solemn walk around Alpenglow Park in Southeast Bend Saturday.

The Out of Darkness Walk was held to remember those lost to suicide, and raise awareness of the tough topic.

“Because that’s what it’s going to take to stop suicide is talking about and reaching out to people who are struggling,” said walk participant Carol Palmer.

The Oregon chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosted the event.

It was the first time the walk was held in person since the COVID-19 pandemic.

People’s lives changed dramatically since the start of the global pandemic, and mental well-being became as big a topic as physical health.

“People who have never struggled were in isolation and lonely and dealing with mental health for the first time ever,” said event organizer Angela Perry.

Many participating in the walk had been directly touched by suicide.

“It’s a start, it’s a start for me,” said Regan Eastland of Bend.

She lost a younger brother a year and half ago.

“And it hurts, it really hurts. I was unaware he was struggling so much and it’s hard, it’s hard to think what could I have done, how could I have helped him,” said Eastland.

Many of those walking Saturday knew how Eastland was feeling, she wasn’t alone.

And that’s why the simple step of taking a walk with others impacted by suicide can help heal.

If you, or someone you know, is in crisis there’s help available. 

You can call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8.

▶️ ‘It’s OK to ask for help’: Oregon’s 988 mental health crisis line launches

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