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Hundreds walk for suicide prevention, mental health awareness

Hundreds of people who lost loved ones to suicide showed up at the Capitol to take part in the 'Out of the Darkness' walk through downtown Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento held its annual 'Out of the Darkness Walk' Saturday for the first time since 2019. Though hundreds turned out for the event, there were some last minute challenges after thieves stole a U-Haul truck with all of the event materials inside. 

Erica Brown, with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, saw it all unfold from her house. 

"I walked out of my house to see our U-Haul gone," said Brown. "I literally saw the people drive away with our stuff so it hurt even more to sit there in the middle of my street at 5:30 a.m. not sure what we were gonna do."

Thousands of dollars worth of items were stolen. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, with the help of 20 resource partners, was able to find some backup items in a storage unit.

"Even though we didn't have the experience that we had worked on for many months to bring to life today, we were still able to bring hope and healing and give people that sense of community," said Brown.

Hundreds of people showed up to walk through downtown Sacramento to raise awareness, break the stigma and honor the memory of loved ones lives cut short by suicide.

"I'm walking for my daughter who was lost to suicide in 2016," said Lauren Eason, a teacher who sees the impacts of mental health in the classroom first-hand. She said she's now fighting for change to incorporate mental health curriculum for all students.

"That's what the problem is that we're not addressing our mental health crisis," said Eason. "This whole situation with COVID has just emphasized it and the need is greater than ever."

Marc Tormey lost his daughter Amanda seven years ago and hopes her story and the new 988 suicide and crisis lifeline will save lives and also wants to remind others that they're not alone.

"So many of us are impacted by it. To just manage it and understand it and walk with other folks that have the same experiences — their own unique experiences — we can all at least hold each others hands," said Tormey. "My Amanda's story is gonna keep going. Somehow through all of us and everybody who loved her."

Watch more from ABC10: 1 in 5 teachers likely to leave the classroom soon, new survey | To The Point

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