In the era of COVID-19, as we all try to protect our mental health and cope with uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we be there for each other and take steps to prevent suicide. While the Annapolis Out of the Darkness Walk is going to look different this year as participants can’t gather to walk as a large group, event organizers encourage you to continue to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention in your local communities. To safely connect, share stories, and raise awareness and funds that will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide, the foundation invites you to join them for the Annapolis Out the Darkness Experience.
On the Annapolis Out of the Darkness event weekend, which will be September 19 and 20, you get to create your own experience. Whether you want to walk, run, read or cook - it is your experience. In addition, the opening ceremony will be streamed on the morning of September 19, which will include the signature honor bead ceremony.
Volunteers have been working hard to add a safe in-person component to the Annapolis Out of the Darkness Experience. In the evening of September 19 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, they will offer a drive-thru luminary ceremony at the Navy Marine Corps Stadium. For this one evening, the stadium will light up with thousands of luminaries to show participants and the community that hope is not cancelled and that you are not alone. Whether you lost a loved one to suicide, struggle personally, support a friend and/or family member, or simply care about the cause, you are invited to be part of this evening. WRNR 103.1 FM will broadcast a special program that evening from 7:00pm to 9:00pm to support the event. Registration is required at www.afsp.org/annapolis. During the ceremony, you are asked to stay in your car at all times and wear a face mask when interacting with event staff. The event staff is required to wear face masks and protective gear at all times.
“Suicide touches one in five American families. By connecting and sharing our stories with each other, we will keep going in the fight to stop suicide,” said Kat Olbrich, Maryland area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “Together, our community sends the message that you are never alone, that healing is possible, and when we connect, we create hope. Together we keep going.”
The Annapolis Out of the Darkness Experience and the drive-thru luminary ceremony will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education and support programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20% by the year 2025. Thanks to your participation in the Out of the Darkness Experiences, the AFSP Maryland Chapter will continue to provide resources and suicide prevention education to local partners and communities.
“We can all learn new ways to help each other save lives,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “By joining an Out of the Darkness Experience, you can show people that we are strong, we are resilient, and we are hopeful. Together, we can create a culture that’s smart about mental health.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest annual report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.