Myrtle Beach hosts record-breaking walk promoting suicide prevention
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - An event aiming to promote suicide prevention broke new records in the Grand Strand on Saturday.
The annual “Out of the Darkness Walk” was held in Myrtle Beach, with organizers saying at least 350 people signed up this year. It’s now the largest suicide prevention walk ever to take place in Myrtle Beach, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Myrtle Beach walk also exceeded its fundraiser goal, reaching $50,000. Proceeds will go towards the AFSP’s goal of decreasing suicide rates by 20% by 2025.
Family members and friends created their own group Saturday, walking together for their loved ones who died by suicide. Some families carried framed photos of lost family members, while others wore matching T-shirts.
Many walkers also carried banners, including some that said “We love you, you matter.”
Yianna Kappas shared a collage of photos of her brother, Reece, who died last September. Kappas hoped that by sharing her story, others can be open and talk about their mental health.
“Just allowing people to know that is okay to come forward when you need help and talk to someone,” said Kappas. “So I think by being a part of this community and part of this walk today we are able to do that and give meaning to life that people that we lost.”
This past summer, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a law requiring schools to provide the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on the back of ID’s for students in 7th through 12th grade.
John Tjaarda, area director for the AFSP, said the new law serves as an opportunity to help young people who are most vulnerable to suicide.
“Right now we are worried about our young people ages 10-24,” he said. “Suicide is the third cause of death for that age group currently, That needs to be met.”
The AFSP said they are waiting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release their new data regarding suicides in 2020.
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