Join the “Out of the Darkness Oxford Walk” to raise awareness, funds for suicide prevention

Published 2:26 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Community gathers for a walk of remembrance, hope and support on Oct. 15

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is hosting the “Out of the Darkness Oxford Walk” on Oct. 15 at The Grove at Ole Miss. With a fundraising goal of $25,000, the event aims to unite the community in the fight against suicide and mental health stigma.

Check-in time starts at 10 a.m., and the walk officially begins at 11 a.m. Currently, the event has raised $10,985 of its $25,000 goal.

Email newsletter signup

Suicide is an issue that silently affects communities, and the numbers tell a compelling story. In 2021, Mississippi had an age-adjusted suicide death rate of 16.2 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To put this into perspective, this rate is higher than the national average, signaling a concerning trend that has been escalating in the state. Events like the “Out of the Darkness Oxford Walk” offer a crucial platform for remembrance, hope and support. They serve as a communal response to these alarming statistics, providing an opportunity for the community to come together and address the impact of suicide and mental health conditions.

Participation is open to all, with no registration fee required. Those interested can register online through the event’s website. Various roles are available for those who wish to contribute, including volunteering at the event and becoming a sponsor. For more details, contact Walk Chair Pam Smith at 504-220-6100 or email at

Participants are encouraged to fundraise, with a suggested individual goal of $150. Those who raise $150 or more by the day of the event will receive the official “Out of the Darkness Walk” T-shirt. Fundraising can be done individually or as a team, but incentives are based on individual fundraising.

The event has already garnered significant community involvement, with 238 participants and 13 teams stepping up to make a difference. Among the top fundraising teams are eBay, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Team, and the Pilant family, showcasing diverse community members committed to the cause.

The “Out of the Darkness Oxford Walk” is more than just a fundraising event; it is a call to action for the community to unite against the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. Your participation can make a difference. Register today and take a step towards a brighter future for all.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health challenges, please remember that help is available. You don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out to the following resources for support:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) 24/7 for free and confidential support. Trained professionals are ready to listen and provide guidance.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “HELLO” to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor via text message. It’s a confidential and convenient way to seek help.