WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. Thousands of people across Indiana are walking to help change this.
“Mental illness is not an easy thing to talk about,” said Lisa Brattain, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s regional director. “Suicide is definitely not an easy thing to talk about. It’s not a natural word in our vocabulary.”
In 2015, over 8,000 people in Indiana participated in the Out of the Darkness Walk. The mission of the 5K is to help make the community comfortable talking about suicide.
Brattain said four out of five people who suffer from a mental illness don’t usually seek help.
“Which is unfortunate because if you have diabetes, you go to the doctor, right?” Brattain said. “So if we have a mental illness that’s treatable, we should go to the doctor.”
Hundreds joined to walk together at the Pine View Golf Course in White County to help spread awareness.
Event organizer Kami Shidler loss her mother to suicide in 2005 and says this event has been a huge part of her healing process.
“I hated that her last choice was a permanent one,” she said. “And we just want to stop that from happening.”
Shidler said people were not talking about this topic 10 years ago. She discovered the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention while looking for answers.
“Just being able to talk about it openly and not feel like it’s a big secret really makes a difference,” Shidler said.
She said talking with others who know exactly how she feels has been a big help.
“Mental illness is treatable,” Brattain said. “Suicide is preventable if we’re armed with the right tools and resources to do that, and we can all play a part in preventing suicide and keeping people safe.”