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Our 9th Out of the Darkness Community Walk was a tremendous outreach for Hampton Roads! Together we were able to help so many who have experienced depression or suicide.
(It looks as if we may very well have over 6,500 registered)

In addition to this, our Walk had such an impact that it extended out thousands of miles. Under the leadership of Capt. Andrew J. Loiselle, the USS George H.W. Bush joined us in the effort of raising awareness of depression as a treatable disease and of suicide as a preventable tragedy.

Since the Bush’s homeport is in Tidewater, they are registered as a part of our Hampton Road’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk: the at-sea part. Over 1,200 of their sailors signed up to participate! We are honored to have them join us with this event and cause.

US Navy Photo

Notice the green Out of the Darkness Community Walk T-shirts! The USS George H.W. Bush sailors taking steps together with us to bring depression and suicide into the light.

We will be updating this website as we receive the final numbers of registration and donations - - yet, we believe our true success is measured by the people we touch. Thank you to all of you who have offered your support by being a part of this important community outreach.

Also, because we know that having your loved one’s name read and remembered is such an important part of the program and also of healing, we wanted to add a page which will include our list of names (Click Here).

We’ve recently been told that several names that were submitted were not read at the program. We sincerely apologize for any submitted names that may have been overlooked. We hope having them on this list of remembrance will be another way to honor your loved one.

(Please know these names will be removed Dec. 21, 2014 when we will put the forms up for submitting name for the next year’s Walk.)

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 26 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 eight years, it has been organized and supported locally by the Hampton Roads Survivors of Suicide Support Group, which has met over 26 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 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 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); 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.  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; Children’s Activity Table; Memory Wall; Crane-Making Table; Frisbee Art; 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 & treatment programs. Donations for the 2014 Walk begin January 1, 2014. (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 “group” 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 Spring when you can register through our website. Please continue to follow our website as we will continue to update it with information.

If you are walking to raise money for AFSP, you are contributing to a very worthwhile cause.  As a gesture of appreciation, if you raise $150 or more, you will be given a free AFSP Out of the Darkness Community Walk T-Shirt which you can pick up at the T-shirt table at the Walk. But, also know, you are welcome just to walk or to share in this time - - as we take steps to bring depression & suicide out of the darkness.

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