Out of the Darkness Walk aims to spread awareness about suicide prevention

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and National Suicide Prevention Week. Advocates say it’s more important than ever to raise awareness.

Because of COVID-19 last year, the annual Out of the Darkness Walk had to go virtual.

"And so it’s good that we spotlight it in September but as a community we need to really focus on it year round because it does affect us year round," said Bee Chavez, New Mexico chair of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

This year – for the first time since the 2019 walk – it’s coming back in-person on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque where there will still be a virtual option as well.

"We will be out there, we have packages for all the walkers, if they want to stay and walk at the location they’re more than welcome, or they can go to another location with just their family, whatever they feel safer with. But we will be out there,” said Chavez.

She said New Mexico’s suicide rate is one of the highest in the country.

"We’re in a whole new world, and we’re trying to figure out the new normal and some people are struggling with that, so as a community and family member or just a friend we need to be there to support and listen to those who are struggling and let them know that they’re not alone," said Chavez.

If you or someone you know is struggling right now, help is out there. The number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.