People in Peoria find support and spread awareness at Out of the Darkness Walk

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PEORIA, Ill. — Hundreds in Peoria walked to raise awareness for suicide and prevention on Saturday as a part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness walk.

It’s a walk to raise awareness on something organizers say isn’t talked about enough, but affects more people than you’d think.

“Your neighbor, the person behind the register at the grocery store, the person who lives across town, the cousin of someone that you’re friends with,” said Cara Levinson, secretary for the board of directors for the AFSP Illinois chapter in Chicago.

The Peoria Out of the Darkness walk aims to educate, share resources, and connect those who have been affected by suicide.

The Peoria walk is one of more than 500 walks happening nationwide.

“It’s one of those things that people don’t like to talk about, but suicide is actually the 10th leading cause of death in the nation,” said Chris Buckely, the Peoria Walk Chair.

Colored necklaces are one of the ways the walk helps to start a conversation. The colors coordinate to different experiences with suicide.

“The best ways to actually start and help with the healing process is talking about it, and finding other people who have gone through a very similar experience,” said Buckely.

Organizers hope starting a conversation about suicide and mental health will have a positive impact.

“Only through education and talking, and just you know, bringing it out into the open, is really how we can actually help and try to prevent suicide,” said Buckely.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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