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BARBOURSVILLE — Residents of Huntington this weekend will join the thousands of people who are gathering in towns across the United States to draw attention to suicide prevention.

The Huntington Out of the Darkness Experience, hosted by the West Virginia Chapter, will have a self-guided tour of hope Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Huntington Mall. Participants will be able to come to the mall with their friends, family and walk team any time between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to walk through the self-guided tour. There will be resource information, activities, a memorial walk and giveaways.

“Suicide touches one in five American families. By connecting and sharing our stories with each other, we will keep going in the fight to stop suicide,” said Amanda Farley, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) West Virginia area director.

Farley said this gathering will support the AFSP’s education and support programs and its goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide by 20% by the year 2025. Nearly $5,000 has already been raised in Huntington.

“Together, our community sends the message that you are never alone, that healing is possible, and when we connect, we create hope,” Farley said. “Together we keep going.”

AFSP officials said suicide prevention efforts are more important than ever in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can all learn new ways to help each other save lives,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “By joining an Out of the Darkness Experience, you can show people that we are strong, we are resilient and we are hopeful. Together, we can create a culture that’s smart about mental health.”

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD or email him at fpace@hdmediallc.com.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD or email him at fpace@hdmediallc.com

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