Organizers hope hundreds will turn out for the second annual Walk to Prevent Suicide Saturday, Oct. 22.
Last year, 125 gathered to recognize those they had lost to suicide and raise funding for suicide prevention programs and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
This year’s walk starts with registration at 9 a.m. at Green Valley Park.
For organizer Lauree Moffett, the walk holds special significance. Moffett brought the walk to Payson shortly after her son, Austin, took his own life. After attending an Out of Darkness walk in the Valley, Moffett was inspired to bring it back to Rim Country.
Che Hernandez, Austin’s uncle, said he hopes people will come away from the walk understanding the importance of community, which the suicide prevention foundation stresses.
“The overall framework for the foundation is the idea of community and caring about other people,” he said. “My mission is to try to inspire kids and everyone else in the community of Payson to see the same idea of community and to support one another and be aware of people that are in crisis around you and be willingly to do something about it. In addition to that, making good choices for yourself and your own life.”
Walks like this encourage people to take ownership of their community. In addition, they help you see that the problems other people have are often the same as your own, Hernandez said.
“Even though they may seem unique, they are the same ones that everyone else struggles with, whether we know it or not,” he said.
And these struggles can be overcome, Moffett said.
The walk is a place people can get more information on help and a place to remember those lost.
“It has a dual purpose,” she said. “To remember the ones that we lost, but also create and implement a support structure to recognize the risk, warning signs and reinforce where they can go for help.”
Mayor Kenny Evans will offer opening comments at the walk. For more information, visit www.outofdarkness.org.