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Out of the Darkness

September 28th, 2010

Kelsey Flynn

Secondary Education major, Honors College

Mansfield, MA

Depression and suicide can affect anyone from anywhere. This is especially true for those who are incoming freshmen to college. College can be a very foreboding place and a very lonely place. There is a way to fight that loneliness and fight depression and suicide. On September 26, 2010 the University of Maine campus hosted an Out of the Darkness walk. The Out of the Darkness walk is a walk to raise awareness about suicide and how many people it touches. I joined this community walk with three coloured beads around my neck. The beads represent what this walk meant to me, and what this walk meant to everyone else. People wore gold beads for those who walked for a parent, green for those who walk for themselves and their own battle, blue if the support the cause, white if they lost a child, purple if they lost a friend or a relative, and orange if you lost a sibling.

I wore green beads, for my hardships and myself and took heart in seeing that most others wore green as well. It occurred to myself, not for the first time, how many people this issue touches and I got a huge sense that I was not alone in this hardship. I wore purple in the name of Pheobe Prince, a girl who took her own life due to bullying at the high school level, and I wore blue because I felt the need to show my support and comradery for anyone else in a similar situation. The community truly came together to support one another against this debilitating disease.

The walk was a total of three miles, from in front of the Fogler Library on the UMaine mall to the Public Library in Orono, Me. The first mile and a half was dedicated to ourselves and those that we have lost. The second mile and a half was that of a celebration, the celebration that we are breaking a taboo on such a tough subject. The hope of this was walk to show the community that there is hope, that there are people who are willing to listen and those who have been there before.

I walked with my friends, with my organization, and my dorm mates. I noticed professors, I noticed my fellow classmates and I noticed former classmates. It was truly something that the community did, not just one group of people. At the University of Maine we stand together against suicide and depression and work with one another to help each other against the struggle. The community support is incredible and this walk was, but only, one way that we have shown our support. We stand together and like our school colours we are blue for support.

Posted in Kelsey Flynn