In Mississippi, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24, a stat that organizers of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Out of the Darkness Walk want to change.
The walk, sponsored by the Mississippi chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, raises money and awareness to try to help reduce those numbers and save lives. This is the third year for the Coast walk, which will be Saturday, Sept. 16, starting from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.
Previously, the walk was held at the Ken Combs Pier area in Gulfport. The event has grown each year, so organizers decided to find a venue that would provide more space and parking. Parking will be free.
Online registration at afsp.org/mississippi closes at noon Friday, Sept. 15, but participants can register the morning of the walk.
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Check-in and on-site registration begins at 8 a.m., with the walk at 9:30 a.m. The walk begins at the south entrance of the Coliseum’s parking lot. Walkers will then cross U.S. 90 to the boardwalk and head east until the boardwalk ends, and then return to the Coliseum. The total distance is about 1.5 miles.
The walk and event activities, on the grounds of the Coliseum, are scheduled to last until noon. Walkers are also encouraged to join local military members who will be doing the 22 Kill Push-Up Challenge, which is done to spread awareness to the statistic that 22 veterans a day die by suicide.
Out of the Darkness walks are held nationwide, bringing together loved ones of those who have died and those who have had thoughts of suicide or who have attempted suicide. Anyone who wants to support suicide prevention is invited to participate.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that suicide is the 12th leading cause of death for people of all ages in Mississippi. The AFSP is a national nonprofit organization that works to prevent suicide through research, education and advocacy.
Money raised from the walks also will help provide suicide-prevention programs to schools for free. The AFSP’s More than Sad program teaches students, teachers and parents how to be smart about mental health.
Third annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Out of the Darkness Walk
What: The walk raises money for suicide-prevention programs.
When: 8 a.m. check-in, 9:30 a.m. walk, Saturday, Sept. 16
Where: Mississippi Coast Coliseum, U.S. 90, Biloxi
Distance: 1.5 miles
Registration: Online at afsp.org/mississippi through noon Friday, Sept. 15. Registration also will be available the morning of the walk, starting at 8 a.m.
More information: Check out the event’s page on Facebook