Out of the Darkness: Weekend walk to raise awareness of suicide and support survivors

Local News

OAKWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – This weekend hundreds of people will gather in Dayton to support people impacted by suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s “Out of the Darkness” walk kicks off Sunday in Oakwood.

An Oakwood church has an eye-catching display. Hundreds of pinwheels are meant to invoke a childlike wonder, but they have a serious message. 

Andrew Mitakides is the Co-chairman of the Dayton “Out of the Darkness” walk. He says, “I had an attempt in college, and I’ve lost a cousin and five friends to this.” 

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Mitakides doesn’t want anyone to go through what he’s gone through. “When you think that and you’re there you feel alone. You feel completely helpless and isolated and so forth. But it’s never the case. It’s really truly never the case.” 

Sunday’s “Out of the Darkness” walk will support people impacted by suicide and raise money and awareness for research and education. 

Pastor Lori Reiber at Oakwood United Methodist Church s trying to make sure the message lands. “Some of it’s just being able to talk about it, because people don’t want to talk about it. One in four people have contemplated suicide. In a family of five that’s at least one person.” 

The pinwheel display outside Reiber’s church is sparking conversation about identifying signs of suicidal thoughts and teaching intervention techniques. She says, “Part of the display was to put some of those numbers out there so that it would be something we start talking about.” 

At the walk, beads will honor the lives lost. Each color representing a different relationship: white for the loss of a child, red for a spouse, green for a personal struggle. 

Mitakides says, “I’ll have bad days. Then I’ll reach out to my wife, or my family, or my friends. And ask them ‘hey keep an eye out’, it’s kind of one of those day.” Andrew wears a lot of beads, for himself and others, but insists just starting the conversation can help. 

“Some people who come to the walk never register. They just kind of stand there. There’s a reason they’re there. We don’t push, we don’t pry.” 

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