Rising “Out of the Darkness”

Rising Out of the Darkness

Marissa McFadden, Staff Writer

On Saturday, September 25th at 10:00 a.m., Cascade high school once again will be hosting an Out of the Darkness walk. 

The point of the OOTD walk is to bring awareness to suicide prevention and raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

This walk connects people who have experienced suicide firsthand and those who want to help others.

“I believe the walk is important because it allows us to mourn those we have lost while at the same time remembering we have people around us who are willing to support us and lift us up,” stated event coordinator and English teacher, Allison Paradise. 

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for all Americans. In 2019, nearly fifty thousand Americans died by suicide. There were an estimated 1.38 million attempts. On average there were 130 suicides a day.

The main causes of suicide are mental health issues, substance use and medications that cause mental issues.  Around 80% of students who die from suicide never reach out for mental health help.

The school has been participating in this walk since 2017. In the beginning there were only seven people who attended. Last year, the group decided to host their own walk at the school because the downtown event was cancelled due to COVID. 

At that walk, they gathered approximately 50 walkers, which was the biggest group thus far.  This year they are looking forward to more growth. They are hoping for 75-100 people. 

Paradise has been participating in these walks since 2014 after losing a loved one to suicide. A few years later in 2016, Natalee Hessler (the PAC director and drama club sponsor) mentioned how she wanted to help kids who were struggling with depression, but  didn’t know how. The next year, CHS was represented in their first downtown walk. 

This free event offers lots more than simply walking.  There are booths to bid on great prizes, a “bead ceremony” where people can don beads of a certain color to show why they are supporting the walk and so much more.

The best part of it all is that the walk is completely free. If you are interested in helping organize the event, reach out to Ms. Paradise to get more information.

The message is simple, but so very strong; you are not alone.