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We were the first Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Virginia and our 9th was a tremendous outreach for Hampton Roads and a great success measured by the minds expanded and the hearts touched! Together we were able to help so many who have experienced depression or suicide.

Our Hampton Roads community responded very favorably to our 9th Walk with 8,234 registrants coming together to bring depression and suicide out of the darkness into the light.

With over 320 Out of the Darkness Community Walks across the nation, we were the largest for the sixth year! And, I think, we can feel good that both our civilians and military have come together for this common cause; all five branches have joined forces. In fact, our Hampton Roads Walk even extended thousands of miles across the ocean when 1,240 sailors on the USS George H.W. Bush joined us in taking steps together to promote good mental health. We were honored to have them join us for 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.

Hampton Roads has been generous in their presence of walking together and also in their donations. As of October 28, 2014, a total of $244,289 has been raised. Please know that 84 cents of every dollar goes to: research, education, advocacy and treatment programs. Donations can still be sent up until December 31, 2014. Thank you to all of you who have offered your support by being a part of this important community outreach.

Please continue to follow our website as we will be updating the website with additional information, as well as, about 100 photos of the Walk. We are so fortunate to have Hyunsoo Leo Kim take the pictures of eight of our Walks. He has received many awards including 4 nominations for Pulitzer Prizes for photography.

Also, beginning January 1, 2015 through our website you'll be able to register to submit a name to be remembered and to order one of our crane T-shirts.

If for the 2015 Walk, you are interested in volunteering, making a donation, or forming a group, you can call Chris Gilchrist at 757-483-5111.

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. 31, 2014 when we will put the forms up for submitting a names for the 2015 Walk.)

Join us for our
10th Out of the Darkness Community Walk
September 12, 2015

(severe weather date: September 13, 2015)
at Mt. Trashmore, Virginia Beach
Registration for your 2015 Walk will begin January 1, 2015.

Walk with thousands across the country in recognizing
THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK!

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 27 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.

WHEN YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH THE WALK, YOU ARE A PART OF PROMOTING 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 nine years, it has been organized and supported locally by the Hampton Roads Survivors of Suicide Support Group, which has met over 27 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); 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


OUR WALK IS A WAY TO SOLVE THIS MAJOR HEALTH PROBLEM

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, 2015 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.