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Out of the Darkness: Walking to end suicide

On Saturday morning, more than 100 people from across the Colleton County community came together to walk toward the light, in a unified effort to show that every life matters.
The second annual suicide prevention walk, Out of the Darkness, took place on Nov. 2nd. Participants gathered at the Colleton County Museum in Walterboro to honor those who have fallen to suicide. The walk also supported those loved ones left behind in the wake of a suicide death. Further, the walk showed suicidal Colleton residents that their life matters.
In addition to being a unified effort against suicide, the walk is a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
In 2018, Colleton’s inaugural walk raised $13,600 for the organization. The goal for that first year was $10,000.
So far, in 2019, more than $15,900 has been collected. The goal for this year’s 2019 walk is $20,000.
Saturday’s event also featured inspiring words from a suicide survivor and from someone who has suffered a loss, said Kim Crouse. Crouse is now a community activist against suicide. Her daughter died to suicide in 2018. Additionally, one of her closest friends also committed suicide.
“I want this to be about hope,” she said, speaking about the event and about the discussion on mental health that she hopes this walk will launch. “Together, we can spread hope and prevent suicide,” she said.
As for 2018, the final tallies were added, and the top donating individual from Colleton County was Cal Griffith, a local missionary and real estate agent. The top business which collected money for suicide prevention was “Fitness with Erin Padgett.”
Crouse says she is grateful for every dollar raised and every thought that is given toward those who need support and mental health counseling.
Additionally, she urges every Colleton resident to visit the organization’s Web site, at www.afsp.org, to learn more about ways to prevent suicide. You can also visit this site to donate or to participate in other walks happening in other communities. All money raised in this event goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), an agency that offers support to those who have suffered a loss to suicide. The group also advocates for mental health support and research.
Donations on behalf of the 2019 Colleton County walk to the AFSP can continue through December 31st.
After first creating last year’s event, several other parts of the Colleton County have also launched suicide prevention efforts. These include a suicide prevention forum, which happened earlier this year, in September. This was sponsored by the Colleton Medical Center and the Colleton County School District.
The Walterboro Police Department also has a suicide prevention coalition. The coalition works with representatives from the county’s school district, the mental health agencies, Coastal Empire, and other community groups to help prevent suicide deaths in Colleton County.
According to statistics provided by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, there were 37 attempted suicides in the county from October 1 of 2018 through Monday, Oct. 29th.
Additionally, 38 Colleton residents threatened suicide.
The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, Colleton County Fire-Rescue and other agencies respond to those who have attempted or threatened to kill or harm themselves.
“Supportive ways to help prevent suicide is by recognizing the warning signs displayed by the individual, and to know how to respond to them,” said R. Andy Strickland, sheriff of Colleton County. “If you feel like something isn’t right and believe that someone you know is suicidal, you play a key role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing them that you care and immediately getting a doctor or psychologist involved,” he said.
According to Shalane Lowes, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, all suicide attempts – whether completed or attempted – are investigated. “Whether it’s a threat or attempted, the person must be evaluated by medical professionals,” said Lowes.

Heather Walters (1663 Posts)