Walking for a Cause

Davane Gross, Staff writer

October was National Suicide Prevention Month (symbolized with a blue and yellow ribbon), and Oct. 5-11 was National Mental Health Awareness week (symbolized with a lime green ribbon).

On Sept. 20, our very own Ms. Zwilling participated in her third Out of the Darkness Walk. She states how this walk was put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). This Chicago land walk raised more money for suicide research than any other AFSP walk in America.

“I was very proud to be a part of it- over $750,000 was raised, and contributions continue to come,” Ms.Zwilling said.

She adds “I am personally very passionate about getting the word out about mental health. Many people have the idea that it is the fault of the one suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, they think that the person just has to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘pull it together’.”

Mental health is a huge problem in America. Cancer, diabetes, Bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, and all other mental illnesses are brain diseases- not the result of weakness. The dangers, concerns, and stereotypes put upon this issue is very disturbing.

Somehow, Ms. Zwilling finds herself connected to the situation.

“For me, the walk was very emotional- there were people walking for so many people who had lost their lives to depression and suicide… it was heartening for everyone to see everyone join together for the common cause of suicide prevention and awareness,” she said.

Although not personally connected to the situation Ms. Zwilling has found the connection needed. She can be defined as a step closer to helping Suicidal people out in America today.

Across America there is a stigma around mental health issues.

Ms. Zwilling has walked and raised money for research and awareness. Depression is a serious mental issue. 1 in 5 people will experience depression in their lifetime, and a high number for high school students and young adults. Ms. Zwilling wants people to know that there is no shame in reaching out for help and it is not their fault.

Many are affected and we encourage them to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline; available 24/7, every day of the year (1-800-273-TALK(8255)). Other information available on National Alliance on Mental Illness website www.nami.org as well as the AFSP website www.afsp.org