BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and the local American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosted it's annual Gulf Coast Out of the Darkness Walk.
The event raises money to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.
With each step, participants hope to be that much closer to tackling the taboo surrounding suicide.
"It's like, "Oh, it's one of those things you don't talk about, it's a stigma, let's be quiet about it,'" but we need to talk about it, we need to bring it out of the darkness," said one participant.
Janice Morrisey lost her son, Sean, on Nov. 17, 2014 after he took his life.
"I walk because I don't want Sean to be forgotten," said Morrissey.
The names of those who have taken their own lives were printed on t-shirts, their pictures placed on tents, and their memories heavy on the hearts of those who loved them. Hundreds gathered on the lawn of the Coast Coliseum with similar stories.
"We don't want another family to go through what we've gone through," said Shawana Gayten.
So, loved ones walk to shine a light on the stresses and struggles in life that can make people consider suicide and the resources out there to help.
"I dream about a time where suicide is one of those things they talk about like, "Oh, you know what no one does that anymore,'" said Morrissey.
With each step taken, and each dollar raised, the hope is they're getting closer to making that a reality. The 2017 walk had 623 registered participants, and has raised more than $27,000 so far.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-273-8255.