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Louisville Out of Darkness Walk raises awareness, support for suicide prevention

The walk, which is in its 18th year, will take place at three different times this weekend at Waterfront Park.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville is facing a serious mental health and suicide crisis, the statistics show over the past four years suicides have outpaced homicides.

In support for those affected, The Out of the Darkness Walk at Waterpark Park aims to raise awareness, all while keeping participants covid safe.

"Our 18-year-old son, Chancey Maurice Jackson took his life by jumping off the Second Street Bridge," William Jackson said.

In our series "2nd Chance," we told the story of a young man who took his own life in 1999. He's one of several Kentuckians, honored in the 18th annual Out of the Darkness Walk in downtown Louisville.

"It's complicated, but it's simple," said Jackson. "I mean, you try to figure out why it happened, where was God, and you ask all kinds of questions about, 'why could this happen to me and why now?'"

When a family member or loved one commits suicide, it can feel isolating.
That's a big part of the reason event organizers feel they still needed to find a way to come together and offer support, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was still really important that we gave people an activity to participate in safely to honor a loved one, their own personal struggle or victory, and that's when we came up with the idea of the self guided route," Out of Darkness Walk's Megan Cole said.

To be in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions there are three different time windows for the walking route at Waterfront Park. 

  • Friday, Nov. 6 Noon to 6 p.m. 
  • Saturday, Nov. 7 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 8 Noon to 6 p.m.

It won't be the usual group of some 7,000 impacted families, friends and loved ones but the group remains resilient and to spread their message.

"As far as we've come, it's still not something we regularly talk about," said Cole. "We lose more people to suicide, war, homicide and natural disaster combined, but we don't hear about it. It's important that as a community we are coming together and creating a culture that is smart about mental health."

Contact reporter Hayley Minogue at hminogue@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. 

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