PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Indiana and 11th in Illinois. It touches many families across the Wabash Valley.
A first of its kind suicide awareness walk is happening in Parke County later this month. It's hard to look around and not see someone touched by loss from a suicide. As you can imagine the hands behind the upcoming event are no exception.
Liddy Dowd-Wright is a sanitarian with the Parke County Health Department. But lately, her work and a passion of hers have intertwined.
She shares, "As I’m inspecting septics and doing permits, I mention the walk and, it's amazing how many people have said, ‘My dad committed suicide. I lost my best friend.’"
Dowd-Wright is organizing an Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness Walk later this month. But her connection to the cause of almost 45,000 deaths each year, is more than the people she meets on the street.
Dowd-Wright reflects, "He was a 26-year-old beautiful soul. His name was Justin Hornsby. He was just a great, great kid. Close to my daughter and son. It was a tough loss."
Dowd-Wright has carried the loss of Hornsby in her heart since St. Patrick's Day 2017. She says the way Hornsby’s parents have handled the loss has been an inspiration to her, sparking the idea for the walk.
She explains, "That was something I really wanted to do to kind of pay it forward for them. So I got news recently they're going to make the trip to be at the walk and they're going to speak."
News 10 spoke with Sophia Stillwell, who's helping to organize the event. She says even if you're scared, one of the best things you can do is talk to your loved ones.
It could just save their lives.
Stillwell shares, "It doesn't matter who you are, if you try to make a connection, it's going to mean something to that person, and again, going back to the "seize the awkward" yeah, it's going to be an awkward conversation, but the worst thing it's going to be is an awkward conversation."
The Parke County Out of the Darkness Walk is September 22nd. The walk is at Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area. The event is free, but donations are welcome. Registration starts at 10 a.m. and the walk starts at 11 a.m. To register or donate to the walk, click here.
If you or a loved one is considering suicide, please know help is available 24 hours a day. You can pick up the phone and call 1-800-273-8255. That's the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.