Fairhope Holds Annual Suicide Prevention Walk

Conor Merrick | Editor-in-Chief | cpm2022@jagmail.southalabama.edu |

Photo and Video by: Conor Merrick

Over 500 people gathered for the annual Out of The Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk on Oct. 24. People who registered for the event were encouraged to make teams to help spread awareness and increase donations. 

This year, 65 teams raised $63,000  which will fund research and help South Alabama’s American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chapter promote suicide awareness. 

This is the 11th year Daphne has held the walk. Lydia Barber took over as the organizer for the AFSP Out of the Darkness Alabama Chapter in 2012. Barber wanted to find a way to get involved in suicide prevention after the loss of close friends and her son to suicide.

“Our son Allen was a sophomore at the University of Montevallo and Oct. 27 of 2010 he took his life while he was at the school…After Allen we just decided we needed to do something so we got in touch with the AFSP and brought the Out of the Darkness Walk to Daphne in 2011,” Barber said. 

One of the main events before the actual walk took place was a butterfly release. The butterflies are meant to represent hope and serve as a reminder that life can always change for the better, according to Lamb. They are also raised specifically for the Out of the Darkness Walks which take place all over the country.

Butterfly Release at Out of The Darkness

Barber explains the event acts as not only a reminder those who are struggling aren’t alone but there are people out there who want to help and support those who need it.

“That’s why I love the event so much because it really truly makes you know you’re not alone…You go to an event like this and you know you’re going to be okay,” Barber said.

When walking around the event, you could see participants wearing different colored beads. Though they may look like something you’d expect someone to wear at a party, these beads are markers for why that individual is there. There are nine different colors altogether which can represent the loss of a child, friend, family member, first responder/military, personal attempts, supporting someone who made an attempt and being at the event to show general support. Julie Lamb, who was wearing white beads spoke to the Vanguard about what this walk means to her after losing her child.

“In honor of my son,” Lamb explained. “He passed away 2 years ago. He took his life in 2019. He was 22. So I come to honor him and support everybody in the community and spread awareness and educate people as well…It means everything to have the community come together,” Lamb explained. 

The event began at 1 p.m. and opened with a greeting and prayer which was followed by live music, a song recital by Daphne High School’s choir and a poem recital by the Lamb family.

Participants walked from Daphne City Hall to the high school and back and were thanked for their participation before leaving.