BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — More than 1,200 people gathered Sunday for the fifth annual NWA Out of the Darkness Walk hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Arkansas Chapter.
Loved ones are hoping to increase suicide prevention awareness in Northwest Arkansas.
Rebecca Christian’s daughter, Autumn, committed suicide in 2002. “It’s heartbreaking and it’s tough. You relive things, but we’re here together and that’s important too.”
By the time Christian got her daughter into counseling, it was too late.
“It’s not something you can put words to,” Christian said.
Families who know the pain of losing a loved one to suicide walked a mile and a half together in solidarity.
For some families, the wound is still fresh.
Sheila Rowden lost her daughter, Monica, eleven months ago. She was 29-years-old.
“We thought she was in a really good place, had been for 6 months, but then she wasn’t,” Rowden said. “In the note that Monica left for her brothers and father and I, she said help other people, full page note large lettering, help other people.”
Despite the losses, both mothers are doing exactly that.
“I will talk to anyone, anytime and anywhere, and I’ll bring a bring a program to present,” Rowden said.
Because no family should have to find out a loved one took their own life.
“Just try to get more money together for research, definitely more money for teaching. The schools need to be doing huge things with suicide prevention and awareness. The stigma has to stop,” Christians said.
The NWA Out of the Darkness Walk raised $53,000 Sunday for suicide prevention programs in local schools, research, and support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
Christians is the founder of Autumn’s ReRide Youth Ranch, a nonprofit organization located in Northwest Arkansas. The ranch provides a safe and peaceful environment where broken children, horses and families can find hope and peace within the healing glow of unconditional love freeing them from their troubles and sadness.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.