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Hundreds Walk to Raise Awareness Towards Suicide Prevention

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Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In Endwell, hundreds gathered at Highland Park for a 5K to raise awareness and remember people they have lost.

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when it's through the hands of suicide.

"It's definitely a hole that's missing. Especially in family events and get-togethers, and in the lives of my grandparents and my aunts and uncles and my whole family," said Harpursville Resident Jessica Watts.

Harpursville resident Jessica Watts lost her father to suicide 15 years ago. At this year's Out of Darkness event, she walks with daughter, Noella, to shine light on an issue she says a lot of people don't like to talk about.

"People think, 'Oh you can't talk about suicide prevention because it's a taboo subject.' But it's okay to say, 'Are you hurting?" because that might save a life," said Watts.

While those suffering from mental illness may feel lonely in their journey, Saturday's event is here to show them that they are not alone.

"There's hot line numbers that you can call. There's friends that you can talk to. You're not alone, there's always someone out there that's willing to listen to you," said Johnson City Resident Jeff Kreider.

"You know there is the message of hope. You know there's services out there for people that struggle, for people to know that they're not the only ones that struggle and there's a lot of support in our community," said Out of Darkness Walk Chairwoman Kristina Doi.

And loss has helped teach Watts to share that message of hope and love with everyone.

"It's important to tell my kids how much I love them every day. Even when you're angry, even when you're upset. Just to tell, not just my children, but every loved one, how much you love them," said Watts.

This is the second year for the walk. Last year, over $30,000 was raised for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.