American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to hold Out of the Darkness Walk in Paducah

The Out of Darkness suicide awareness, prevention walk will bein Paducah on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT
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PADUCAH, KY. (KFVS) -Tomorrow, a walk of remembrance, hope, and support will be taking place in Paducah.

It’s the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walk.

One attendee will be Whitney Austin, the executive director of Whitney Strong.

Whitney Strong is an organization dedicated to reducing gun violence by promoting, advocating and supporting responsible gun ownership.

Austin started the non-profit after she was a victim of the September 2018 mass shooting in Cincinnati. She suffered 12 gunshot wounds.

Now, she says the gift of life is why she is working to prevent firearm suicides across Kentucky.

“Gun violence takes many forms. And in the state of Kentucky, the greatest number of deaths are tied to suicide. And so that gift of life is what propels me forward to help others. I know that it’s preventable and I know that we can do things as a community to help save lives,” said Austin.

She will have a table at tomorrow’s walk where she will be educating those on preventing firearm suicide. She will also be handing out free gun locks at the walk.

Austin says, over the last 20 years, we’ve seen suicide rates in rural Kentucky that are 1.4 times higher than urban areas.

“I think it’s really important to educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide. So when those around you who are struggling, you recognize those warning signs. I think it’s important that you familiarize yourself with mental health resources in the community because you’re not the expert, someone else is to refer them to help. And then lastly it’s really important that if someone around you is struggling that you make sure to safely store your firearm during that period,” said Austin.

The walk begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, on the West Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Hawkes Gym.

More information on the walk can be found here.

You can find more information about Whitney Strong on their website.