LAS VEGAS (KLAS)— Shining a light on mental health, that’s the goal for the ‘Out of the Darkness community walk,” it’s all to support suicide prevention.
Students from Desert Oasis high school said this community walk at Sunset park couldn’t have come at a better time, as the effects of the pandemic has increased the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
“Our friend a year ago now, she committed suicide during quarantine,” said Desert Oasis student Salise Feldman.
The teens said school administrators are trying to provide resources during times of grief.
“We had a mental health week at school and they gave us options like this,” said Lillian Bowles, Desert Oasis student. “They tell people to come to suicide walks and they give us mental health weeks.”
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death in ages 10 to 35 years old.
Local leaders and a number of community resources in attendance Saturday hope this event will bring awareness and address the stigma surrounding mental health.
“Just talk to people because you never know who’s feeling the same way as you or who can relate to you,” added Lilian Morrissey, a student at Desert Oasis high school.
For siblings Denise Orton and Meliss Houston, they are walking for their brother Scott.
They said as close as their bond may be, their brother hid his struggles and they say while the pain of losing a loved one may never go away….
“Very hard even 8 years later to process it still, it’s just a wound on your heart for the family,” said Denise Orton.
Connecting and helping others is their way of giving back.
“This gives us a chance to celebrate him and to have the beautiful memories and to reach out to others who may be suffering,” added Meliss Houston.
The event also included opening remarks from Governor Steve Sisolak, an honor bead ceremony and a mild walk around the park to honor those lives lost to suicide.