'They are not alone.' Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk raises funds and awareness in Mamaroneck
Over 400 people participated in the annual Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk Saturday at Harbor Island in Mamaroneck.
The America Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosted the three-mile walk.
Maria Idoni, the area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said this year's participants raised about $65,000. The money will go toward suicide prevention, education and awareness programming in the community.
In addition to raising money, a spokesperson said the event was a great chance for people who have been impacted by suicide to connect.
"So many people feel like there's no one that can understand them,” Idoni said. “Then they come here, and everyone has beads on, and they see the representation of all the losses. It makes them feel connected and they realize that they are not alone in this."
Amy Estrada and her daughter Talina walked in honor of their cousin. The mother-daughter duo said they have participated in the walk for a number of years.
"It's important to remember not only those that have passed away, but those that are struggling with mental health and mental illness," Estrada said. "We all struggle at some point and so this is a way to let people know that you have that support."
AFSP board member Steven Dolce said he also has personal ties to the cause.
"My friend died about 12 years ago," Dolce said, and added that a short conversation with someone struggling could help save a life.
"We're trying to help people promote the idea that if you had a 15-minute, uncomfortable conversation by asking someone or you're having thoughts of suicide, we might be able to get a little bit ahead of this," Dolce explained.
Those who missed the Mamaroneck event will have another opportunity. The AFSP will host a walk in Sullivan County on Oct. 29.