Students, parents, and supporters from throughout Nolensville and surrounding areas will come together to raise awareness about suicide loss, particularly among children and teenagers, by participating in the inaugural Nolensville Out of the Darkness Campus Walk.
The walk is the second Out of the Darkness Campus Walk in as many months, recognizing that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young Tennesseans, ages 10-19. Centennial High School hosted a walk in March. The Nolensville Out of the Darkness Campus Walk is one of more than 150 Out of the Darkness Campus Walks being held nationwide this year.
The event is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at Nolensville Town Hall, 7218 Nolensville Rd.
Registration for the walk is available online at https://afsp.donordrive.com/event/nolensvillehs. This fundraising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s local and national education and advocacy programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.
Speakers at the Nolensville Walk will include suicide attempt and suicide loss survivors sharing their personal stories.
The walk is co-chaired by Kimberly Steinle, assistant principal at College Grove Elementary School and the mother of a ninth-grader at Nolensville High School, and Kelly Swiggert, STARS counselor at Mill Creek Middle School in Nolensville.
“My daughter was diagnosed with anxiety and depression about a year and a half ago and since that time I have found a passion for advocating for mental health and suicide prevention awareness,” Steinle said. “I have learned a great deal about mental health and the lack of funding and education for both mental health and suicide prevention. It is my goal to play a small part in helping AFSP reach their goal of reducing the suicide rate and expand on educating communities about these important topics.”
Steinle’s daughter, Ali Shoulders, said the Nolensville walk is important to her because mental health and suicide prevention are not talked about enough.
“This walk is a chance to let people who might think they are alone know that there are other people like them. We all have to work together to stop the stigma,” she said.
“Every week in Tennessee, we lose one young life to suicide. We walk to raise awareness about this important health issue. We hope that by walking we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” Middle TN AFSP Board Chair Shannon Cook Hall said.
Booth partners for the Nolensville walk include Family and Children’s Service and Mercy Ministries.
“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental health conditions.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide.