Annual walk to fight suicide aims to spread hope

An expected 2,000 people will walk Sunday at Oakwood High School to shed light on rising suicide rates and support those in the community struggling with mental health concerns.

The 2019 Dayton Out of Darkness Walk to fight suicide will take place at the high school stadium from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

“The goal of the walk is to bring hope to people,” said Carol Griesdorn, co-chair of the event. “Allowing them to speak about suicide and mental health concerns without being judged. Helping each other find hope helps stop the stigma of mental illness and allows people to talk honestly.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.

RELATED: Why youth mental health is one of the Miami Valley’s biggest issues

New numbers released this week by the Centers for Disease Control show the national suicide rate for people ages 10 to 24 increased 56 percent between 2007 and 2017. Starting in 2010, suicide surpassed homicide to become the second leading cause of death for that age group.

The Dayton Daily News' Path Forward initiative has been extensively reporting on the Miami Valley's mental health, including how to stop the increase suicide deaths in children and teens.

More information on the event is available on Facebook at 2019 Dayton Out of Darkness Walk, or at Those who want to participate but haven't registered can do so the day of the event beginning at 1 p.m.

“We will have many resource tables with valuable information, but most of all there will be a lot of love, healing and spreading hope to one another,” Griesdorn said.

RELATED: How Dayton region can stop record increase in teen suicides

The AFSP website has a list of support groups in the area and a new "Keeping Our Light" support group for survivors of suicide will be starting in November.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HELLO to 741741 to connect with a person directly.

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