Today I joined my first “the “Darkness Into Light” walk, in support of Suicide Awareness. If you will indulge me, I would like to share a little of my journey
What Is Darkness Into light?
For anyone not aware, Darkness Into Light began in 2009 when 400 people performed a 5km walk through Phoenix Park in Dublin to raise money in support of Pieta – a charity established to provide free and accessible support to people affected by suicide and self-harm. Darkness Into Light has grown, with over 150,000 people participating each year.
What’s in a Name?
The name “Darkness Into Light” carries, for me, multiple meanings.
The first is so obvious it almost doesn’t need saying – the walk begins before dawn, with participants reaching their chosen meeting place in time to see the sun rise.
But the meaning is so much more than that
The second meaning, is about showing solidarity for those who have been affected by suicide, or perhaps are themselves experiencing feelings of suicide, or self harm. That even in the darkest of days, there is a light at the end of the tunnel; that it is not a journey they need to do alone.
The third meaning, is about brining the topic of suicide “out of the shadows”. No-one should be afraid to talk about suicide. We need to remove the stigma associated with mental health, so that we talk more frequently, more openly. Then, hopefully, those who need help, will feel comfortable asking for help, before it is too late.
My Reasons for Walking
I walked today, in memory of friends and family, who have been affected by suicide. I walked to recognise and acknowledge the pain they experienced in their loss, the pain they continue to suffer.
I walked so they might know that while I might not know their pain, or heartache, that I am there with them, for them.
They are not alone
They will never be alone
The thought that anyone should feel so alone, so trapped, that they feel their only way out is to end their life is, to me, almost unfathomable.
Suicide is a topic that must no longer be kept in the dark. We can not allow a negative social stigma to be associated with mental health.
The more we talk about mental health, about suicide, the less of a stigma there is. Then people can actually openly talk and ask for help.
Don’t stay quiet
If you are suffering from mental health issues, if you have feelings of suicide, reach out – to a friend, to a loved one, to a random stranger. Just PLEASE, ask for help.
If you are approached by anyone who asks for help, show them that you are prepared to listen, to be non-judgemental, and help them get the professional support that they need
Talk about mental health, talk about suicide. Help remove the stigma.
Where to Find Help
There are so many worthwhile and amazing charities and support organisations who provide support for those in crisis, who are in need of help. To share links to just a few
- Pieta (Ireland) – https://www.pieta.ie/
- Lifeline (Australia) – https://www.lifeline.org.au
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (USA) – https://afsp.org/
This post was originally authored on this blog, you can also see the corresponding LinkedIn Article here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/darkness-light-2023-andrew-barnes
#suicideprevention #suicide #suicideawareness #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #pietahouse #lifeline #afsp #volunteer #irishcoastguard