2 walks in Utah help to raise suicide prevention awareness

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Two walks will take place Saturday morning to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to support families who have suffered losses by suicide.

Lisa Jungemann and her daughter have been busy recruiting for the Out of the Darkness walk, but it was not difficult to get others to participate.

"We just put it out there and it has just blossomed," Jungemann said.

More than 150 people will join Lisa Jungemann in walking in honor of her son Matt who died by suicide earlier this year.

"I am not going to be ashamed of my children. You love them regardless," Jungemann said. She is walking to advocate open dialogue and communication about suicide and suicide prevention.

"There is so much judgment versus trying to understand," said Taryn Aiken, Co-chair of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Taryn Aiken lost her father to suicide and organized the first walk in Utah for the AFSP seven years ago.

"It is the most emotional but healing time because you know you are not alone. And all around you are families that have been through what you've been through," Aiken said.

The event continues to grow each year, but feelings are mixed about how big the event has become. A larger turnout means more support, but it also means more people grieving a life lost to suicide.

"They (suicides) aren't just increasing a little, they are increasing a lot," said Emily Hoerner, Co-chair of the AFSP.

Hoerner said helping other people heal helped her after her brother died.

"It helps me to remember my brother and talk about him in a positive way. How he died didn't define him," Hoerner said.

Like so many families, the Jungemanns never imagined they would end up on this journey, and they are now committed to sparing others from the pain.

"If this walk, the funds raised or the message that is put out there can just save one person, then it is worth it," Jungemann said.

The Out of the Darkness Walk is at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at Sugar House Park.

Utah County is hosting a Walk for Hope at the Riverwoods in Provo at 9 a.m. Saturday.


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