WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The COVID-19 pandemic may keep us apart physically, but Sunday, it didn’t stop people from walking and spreading the word about mental illness.
Groups gathered at Watertown’s Thompson Park Sunday morning for the annual Out of the Darkness community walk to spread awareness about suicide prevention and bring hope to those affected by suicide.
People were able to write messages to loved ones they have lost, collect painted rocks, and get free pamphlets on the importance of mental health.
Attendees were encouraged to sign up beforehand and were given time slots to walk to ensure social distancing.
Organizer Karen Heisig says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and one of the best ways to prevent it is by simply, talking about it.
“It is so critical to learn that- we learn to have an awkward conversation. We never know when somebody’s in crisis. Sometimes it’s just having that simple conversation like ‘are you okay?’ and asking it in a way that is caring and compassionate with no judgement. And opening the door to that bigger conversation and talking about our mental health, said Heisig, Area Director for Central & South New York Chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
To learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention visit their website.