Community gathers to support and raise awareness for suicide prevention

Rollerskaters holds up sign for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Alyssa Hunter)

Kiralynn Edmondson

At the Bill Barber Memorial Park in Irvine, Orange County residents participated in the Out of the Darkness community walk, raising proceeds for the American Foundation for Suicidal Prevention.

Families of victims joined together to support one another and raise awareness of mental disorders such as depression and substance abuse in loved ones, that may result in suicide.

A KROQ tent played music for the Out of the Darkness community walk.

“We came to support this awesome cause,” said Josh Hayes, part of the KROQ crew and also a former Irvine Valley College student.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness also came to make the public aware of their new hotline called Warmline.

Warmline is not a suicide hotline, but instead it serves as a number that people in need can call to talk to someone who will listen.

The Orange County Warmline phone number is 714-991-6412 or toll free 1-877-WARM. Warmline hours are between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

“Whether your cat died, you’re having a bad day, or you feel like you want to hurt yourself, you can call and there are mentors who understand and are willing to help out,” said Mariam Harris, a member of NAMI.

NAMI also offers many support groups to the public at no charge. They have family to family groups that teach families and caregivers about mental illnesses in loved ones, as well as how to communicate, and how to handle a crisis situation.

The peer to peer support group that NAMI offers is a recovery relapse prevention that teaches individuals to be aware of their own personal symptoms.

“I came to make sure people are aware of how much this effects people’s family’s lives. It seems like every year we know and meet more and more people that are a part of this club. Each year it continues to be difficult. It never gets easier,” said Erin Brophy, who was walking in remembrance of a loved one.

“It’s a life long challenge that we deal with. And we need to raise awareness, support each other, and more,” Brophy said.

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