(Photo by Michael Weber) Participants make their way to the “bridge of support” during the Out of the Darkness community walk in Arcata, CA on Sept. 9.

Arcata community fights suicide stigma

Arcata community comes together in "Out of the Darkness" community walk to share stories and spread awareness on mental health and suicide.

Residents and students alike came together on the 4th annual Arcata “Out of the Darkness” community walk on Sept. 9 to raise awareness for mental health and suicide and to reduce stigma in the local community through connection. The event was also to fundraise for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Heather Freitas is the lead organizer for the AFSP Out of the Darkness community walk in Arcata. Freitas said the walks are a way for the community to come together and create awareness as well as fight negative stigma against mental health.

“It is not possible without the community,” Freitas said.

The walk starts in Arcata Square where participants checked in, looked at mental illness informative booths and engaged in activities that share a connection with suicide.

180909-093545.jpg Participant Sarah Zerkel writes a personal message for a posting board during the Arcata Out of the Darkeness event on Sept. 9, 2018. The board is made of memorials, pictures and tributes that other participants put up. | Photo by Michael Weber

Before the walk, community members were able to show support and learn about mental illness by wearing self identifying beads, sharing stories, and listening to speakers talk about mental health.

The walk itself was an estimated three miles long and took an hour and a half for all participants to complete the walk.

A major landmark of the walk was passing through a “bridge of support,” where motivational and inspirational posters made by former volunteers were put up for display.

180909-100033.jpg One of the numerous posters filled with messages for participants of the Arcata Out of the Darkness Walk in Arcata, CA on Sept. 9, 2018. | Photo by Michael Weber
180909-101227.jpg Participants of the Out of the Darkness community walk in Arcata, CA cross the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetary on Sept. 9, 2018. | Photo by Michael Weber

In the end, participants walked through the finish line and were congratulated for completing the walk.


For the closing ceremony, Friedas shared her personal experience to the crowd.

“On this day in 2011,” Friedas said her first loss to suicide was her dad. She said he hid it well, and passed away when there was no one to check up on him.

“We don’t grieve just the loss of a life, we grieve with how our relationships change as well,” Friedas said in her speech.

Sept. 9 is also the start of suicide prevention week. As national suicide rates are rising, according to the CDC, support for mental health will continue in the community of Arcata.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit

More Stories

Photo by Abraham Navarro | Cowboy Daddy's Drummer and Keyboard player Conner West, 25, and guitarist Skye Freitas, 24, jam out at the Gutswurrak Student Activity Center on April 28.

Local bands rock the Gutswurrak

by Ione Dellos Band members wait in front of the bathrooms, eyes anxiously fluttering from the stage to the growing audience in the Gutswurrak Student Activities Center. After the deepest sigh one could possibly take, they make their way to

Travis Allen pole vaults at the Green and Gold Track Event on Feb. 12 Photo by Morgan Hancock.

Athlete’s outperform at decathlon

by Carlos Pedraza The Cal Poly Humboldt Track and Field team participated in the Stanislaus State Multi-Event from Thursday April 7 to Saturday April 9. The team participated in over 10 different events, all of which were multi-day involving different

Photo by Morgan Hancock | Izzy Star hits a home run in final softball game of the season at the Bear River Recreation Center in Loleta, California on Saturday, April 30.

Cal Poly Humboldt plays its last softball game of the series

by Eddie Carpenter On April 30, Cal Poly Humboldt Softball played the last two games of their series against Cal State San Marcos. Due to weather conditions, the softball games had to be relocated to the Bear River Recreation Center

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply