AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)— Each year, suicide claims more lives than war, murder and natural disasters combined, but suicide prevention doesn’t get anywhere near the funding as other leading causes of death and that’s where the Out of the Darkness walks come in.
Sydney Wright and Juliana Taylor have worked hard to raise awareness of an issue that affects families, it affects our community, and it’s staggering to see the number of young people that we lose to suicide. Juliana shares a very personal connection.
“I lost my father about 20 years ago to suicide and when I started teaching high school, that loss sort of primed me, I think, to talk to students who were struggling with suicidal ideation and I feel like it has opened up a whole new avenue for some kids to be able to, you know, they have someone they can trust, to come to. If they know someone that’s hurting they can reach out to me, and I can get them the resources that they need. But it is, like you say, it’s staggering how many young people are affected, and how many people, it’s that thing that we kinda push you know, under the rug. There’s a lot of shame attached to it, and that’s why the movement is called Out of the Darkness because we’re trying to bring it into the light so that people can not feel shame and, in fact, just feel a sense of hope and community from all the people around who are willing and able to help.”
Sydney attempted suicide as a teenager.
“When I was a sophomore in high school, I did attempt suicide and was hospitalized and got treatment and my high school teachers, my friends, my family, were all a wonderful support system in my healing process and in bettering my mental health, and now I’ve, since then, been speaking out as an advocate for suicide prevention and mental health. And I met Juliana through my work when I was planning the Survivor’s Day in Aiken. I started that here. It’s held the Saturday before Thanksgiving every year for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.”