Fairbanks residents walk ‘out of the darkness’ in support of suicide prevention

Updated: May. 22, 2021 at 8:46 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Through the wind and the rain, Fairbanks showed it’s support for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, by participating in the annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk.

Fairbanks’ annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk took place at Lathrop High School’s Track on Saturday, May 22nd.

212 participants registered for the event, for a variety of reasons.

Participant Barbara Franks said, “Even though it’s cold here, and it’s windy, and it’s blowing and everything, these people are here because of their loved ones.”

Franks’ son died by suicide on December 14th, 1997. She said, “When we talk about prevention, we’re talking about what can I do to help you and to let you know you’re not alone.”

Teacher Jennifer Bodily has known friends, family and former students who have been lost to suicide. “This really touches us all. It’s really important to me to show that it is a part of all of us, and it’s something that really needs to be brought out there for people to see and what can we do as members of the community,” she said.

Like Bodily, Juanita Webb came representing the local Lions Club. “We’re out in support of suicide prevention and specifically this year because one of our fellow Lions lost a family member to suicide,” she said, adding, “It’s just important for people to know the signs and what to watch for, and to make sure and just listen for those cues and listen for those actions from people.”

Participant Dana Koppers said about mental health and suicide that it’s important to, “let people know it’s okay to talk about, and know that there is support out there for the communities.”

“It’s just really important for people to know there is people to talk to and that there are programs and support available,” Koppers said.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, you can call Alaska’s Careline 24/7 at 1-877-266-4357.

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