In the era of Covid-19, as we all try to protect our mental health and cope with uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we be there for each other and take steps to prevent suicide. While the Annapolis Out of the Darkness Walk is going to look different this year as we can’t gather to walk as a large group, we encourage you to continue to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention in your local communities. To safely connect, share stories, raise awareness and funds that will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide, we invite you to join us for the Annapolis Out of the Darkness Experience. For the next few weeks we encourage you to focused on your self-care and well-being by joining us for a free Wellness Challenge. On the Annapolis Out of the Darkness event weekend, which will be September 19 and 20, you get to create your own experience. Whether you want to walk, run, read or cook – it is your experience. In addition, we will stream an opening ceremony in the morning of September 19, which will include our signature Honor Bead Ceremony.
We might not be able to walk together, but our volunteers have been working hard to add a safe in-person component to the Annapolis Out of the Darkness Experience. In the evening of September 19 from 7 to 9 pm, we will offer a Drive-Thru Luminary Ceremony at theNavy Marine Corps Stadium. For this one evening, we will light up the stadium with hundreds of luminaries to show participants and our community that HOPE IS NOT CANCELLED and that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Whether you lost a loved one to suicide, struggle personally, support a friend and/or family member, or simply care about the cause, we hope you will be a part of this evening. Registration is required at www.afsp.org/annapolis. During the ceremony, we ask you to stay in your car at all times and wear a face mask when interacting with event staff. Our event staff is required to wear face masks and protective gear at all times.
“Suicide touches one in five American families. By connecting and sharing our stories with each other, we will keep going in the fight to stop suicide. Together, our community sends the message that you are never alone, that healing is possible, and when we connect, we create hope. Together we keep going,” said Kat Olbrich, Maryland Area Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Annapolis Out of the Darkness Experience and the Drive-Thru Luminary Ceremony will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education and support programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20% by the year 2025. Thanks to your participation in the Out of the Darkness Experiences, the AFSP Maryland Chapter will continue to provide resources and suicide prevention education to local partners and communities.
“We can all learn new ways to help each other save lives,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “By joining an Out of the Darkness Experience, you can show people that we are strong, we are resilient, and we are hopeful. Together, we can create a culture that’s smart about mental health.”
To donate or join this event, visit: www.afsp.org/annapolis
To learn about upcoming training opportunities, fundraisers, mindfulness events etc., visit: www.afsp.org/mdtogether.
We spoke with Kat Olbrich and Den D’Camera about the walk last year and AFSP. Have a listen!