By Eleanor Sevigny
Published September 30, 2021 in The Burg
September is Suicide Awareness month. To raise suicide awareness Out of the Darkness hosts a walk at Lake Storey every year. Out Of the Darkness Walk this year was on September 25. Chastity Smith and Tina Benedict are in charge of the walk. Emily Phiilbee and her team, BentNotBroken (RWB22), participated in the walk this year.
“My team had 14 participants registered. The team consists of my extremely awesome friends, Heather Douglas (my sister), Adam Larson (the love of my life), and a few of my sister’s friends. The team has several phenomenal sponsors! Our sponsors are Motzee’s, Shady Hill, JC Studios, EMP Painting & Services, The Patio, Gray’s Sandwich Shop, and Go Van Gough’s.” explained Philbee.
Philbee started attending the Out of the Darkness Walk in 2015.
Philbee started attending because, “I had lost yet another friend to suicide.”
For Philbee the walk is about more than just raising awareness, “it brings people together. It shows support to the survivors of suicide loss, those who struggle with their own mental health, and gives us time to remember the loved ones we have lost to suicide.”
Since her first walk in 2015, Philbee has made a point to attend the walk every year. At the last three Out of the Darkness Walks Philbee was even a speaker.
“I spoke of my own struggle with mental health and suicide. . . I am a survivor! My passion for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness comes from my personal struggle with multiple mental health disorders and to honor the memory of the numerous loved ones, I and so many others have lost to suicide.” Philbee explained.
Furthermore, Philbee would like the Galesburg community to know, “We as a society have to start approaching mental health and suicide prevention in a different way. Instead of having this stigmatized thinking, we should be more understanding and have more compassion in our hearts for one another. To those who struggle in silence, please, seek help, and speak out. Your story could be the key to unlock someone else’s prison.” stated Philbee.
If you would like to stay up to date on Out of the Darkness, follow their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Out-of-the-Darkness-Community-Walk-West-Central-Illinois-904397952978381 or their website https://supporting.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=7947. If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or mental health, contact 1(800)-273-8255 (suicide hotline) or 344-2323 (Bridgeway).