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Our 10th Out of the Darkness Community was a tremendous outreach for Hampton Roads! Together we were able to help so many who have experienced depression or suicide.

Our civilian and military communities were so responsive to this Walk that:
With over 350 Out of the Darkness Community Walks across the nation, we were the largest for the 7th year! We had 8,349 registrants.

The Walk had such an impact that it extended thousands of miles out to sea on the aircraft carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt. On the flight deck, 1,700 sailors joined us taking steps to raise awareness of depression as a treatable disease and of suicide as a preventable tragedy.

US Navy Photo

Note the blue Out of the Darkness Community Walk T-shirts!

To fully understand the importance of this special day, please view last year's pictorial - click here.
On behalf of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Hampton Roads Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Group (SOS), we thank you for the past support as we invite you to be part of our 11th annual Walk.

We hope you will join us for our
11th Out of the Darkness Community Walk
September 10, 2016

(severe weather date: September 17, 2016)
at Mt. Trashmore, Virginia Beach

Walk with thousands across the country in recognizing

Come in the name of raising awareness of depressing and suicide; come in the name of remembering a loved one lost to suicide; come in the name of supporting this critical cause

Together we can save lives!

For more information about the Walk, you may call Chris Gilchrist, LCSW, founder and facilitator of the Hampton Roads S.O.S. Group for over 28 years and a member of the American Association of Suicidology. (757) 483-5111.

Why should you be involved with the Walk?

In Hampton Roads, we have many great Walks to promote good physical health. 
The Out of the Darkness Community Walk is the Walk in our community and across the nation to promote good mental health.


Both good physical and good mental health are necessary for overall well-being of each individual.  And, both can have, at times, life or death critical urgency.

In realizing that over 90% of those who take their own life were suffering from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder, primarily major depression, we can then understand that mental illness is a medical matter and treatable. In fact, the number one cause of suicide is untreated depression!  Therefore, if we can educate people to recognize the symptoms of depression and to seek help, we can prevent suicide.

This is the commitment which spirits the Out of the Darkness Community Walk.  For all eleven years, it has been organized and supported locally by the Hampton Roads Survivors of Suicide Support Group, which has met over 28 years to provide a safe place for individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide.  (Click for more information)  Because members of S.O.S. hope that others can be spared the pain and tragedy that they’ve suffered, they’ve strengthened their efforts by forming a partnership with the national organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) , our country’s leading non-profit exclusively dedicated to prevent suicide. 

With this joint sponsorship, three important goals have been set:

First, to increase awareness of the disease of depression and of the tragedy of suicide. To further this objective, we have an informative and moving program with several exceptional speakers.  There are also 20 or more professional counselors present who can: provide emotional support; answer questions; and hand out information and booklets that address depression, suicide prevention, and grieving.  Because this Walk is a family event, there are materials geared for children, teens, and adults.  The counselors can also assist you in taking a Depression Inventory, that is available. 

The second goal of the Walk is to provide support in remembering and in healing from the loss of a loved one who has died by suicide.  To facilitate this grieving: participants can have the name of their loved one read during the program; wear a colored armband in remembrance; or hang their picture on the Memory Wall.

The third goal of the Walk is to raise money for the AFSP.  Any donations to this non-profit are put to good use as 84 cents to the dollar go to suicide prevention through research, education, advocacy and treatment plans.

With a focus on these three objectives, the morning is also a time to celebrate our lives.  So, people are able to share in a hopeful spirit by enjoying: a complimentary breakfast (Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Flowers Baking Company of Norfolk pastries, and Sam's Club breakfast bars); a wonderful program of Awareness, Remembrance and Celebration; Activities (crafts, decorating frizbees, folding a crane table); After-Walk Picnic with music by the Ben Phelps Project Band, complimentary Rita’s Italian Ice and we’ll have a drawing when someone will receive a beautiful quilt as a gift. Throughout the Walk, free pictures can be taken of families and groups.

To learn more about these activities, please continue.

            Your involvement is important in accomplishing these goals.  Of course you can participate by walking one of the three different trails at Mt. Trashmore (1.30; 1.45; 1.95 miles).  And / or, you are also encouraged to participate in the other many activities that we have planned: Our Program of Awareness, Remembrance, and Celebration; complimentary refreshments; the availability of Mental Health Professionals and Information; Memory Wall; Crane-Making Table; Frisbee Art; Craft Table and After-Walk Picnic with a live band and the drawing of the Crane Peace Quilt as a gift.
            Although we believe in the positive impact of AFSP in its efforts to prevent suicide, we want you to feel equally free to raise or not to raise money.  In either event, you are very welcome. If you choose to collect donations, you can do this by having people sponsor your walking or by adding your own personal donation or that of friends, working associates, businesses, or corporations. With money raised, 84 cents to the dollar goes to suicide prevention through research, education, advocacy & treatment programs. Donations for the 2015 Walk begin January 1, 2015. (for more information about donations - click here). Whether you are involved in walking; event activities; or raising donations, you can do this either individually or as a “team” which might consist of a family, work associates,military commands or individuals with shared interests and concerns, etc. 

            Please know, you are very welcome regardless of how you may participate. 

With this spirit, we can make a difference in preventing suicide which is a major national health problem that takes lives and with it an enormous toll on family, friends, co-workers and the entire community.

Important Facts we remember about depression and suicide:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-TALK


Everyone who is coming to the Walk needs to register whether you are walking, sponsoring a walker, or just planning to participate in being a part of the program activities. Since it is very important to register, please be sure to check back by January 1, 2016 when you can register through our website. Please continue to follow our website as we will continue to update it with information.

Please continue to our Events Page (click here) to read about the schedule parking, events and other details of our Walk.