LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Sunday, September 10th is Suicide Awareness Day, and a group in Las Cruces helped spread the word Saturday with the Out of the Darkness Community Walk.
Held at Young Park, the walk is described by the American Foundation for Suicide Awareness as a way to acknowledge the impact that suicide has had on those in different communities.
Over 300 registered walkers showed up to Young Park Saturday for the event, and more un-registered walkers joined as well.
Many who participated in the walk know someone who committed suicide, something that’s fifty percent higher in New Mexico than in the rest of the United States. That's according to data from New Mexico's Health Data & Statistics.
Some walkers wore different colored beads in remembrance of those they lost, something that represents a different group of people.
Red beads symbolize the loss of a spouse or partner, orange beads represent the loss of a sibling, silver represents the loss of a service member, and rainbow beads represent the loss of someone in the LGBT+ community.
Gina Gillis, an organizer for the walk, wore white beads, which symbolize the loss of a child.
She lost her son to suicide in 2015, and she told ABC-7 that becoming a part of the American Foundation for Suicide Awareness, who organizes these types of walks, has helped her heal.
“I just needed to find something to give my life some meaning, and to help me heal, and I came to a walk in Tucson, and it was the most amazing feeling," said Gillis.
"I cried a ton, but it was amazing, and I started volunteering, and now I’m staff, and it’s just the most amazing experience," she added.
Another Out of the Darkness Walk is scheduled for September 30th in Albuquerque, and Gillis says another walk in Las Cruces is planned for the spring at New Mexico State University.
Gillis says a specific date is still being worked out for the NMSU walk, but a day in March or April is being aimed for.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts and need help and/or resources, you can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's website by clicking here.