Raising awareness of suicide

GIRARD — Miss Ohio 2018 Matti-Lynn Chrisman said that in 2016, she was at her lowest. She felt extreme depression and did not want to go on living.

Those feelings changed when she attended her first Out of the Darkness suicide awareness walk and program.

Chrisman spoke this weekend at the second annual Out of the Darkness program and walk held at Arrowhead Stadium in Girard. Angie Cochran, Girard High School guidance counselor, said the event was started last year at the request of the Class of 2018 to raise awareness of depression and suicide in coordination with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

Chrisman told the group, “Depression had controlled 99.9 percent of my adult life. I have struggled like many others.”

She said many individuals who compete for Miss Ohio or Miss America have a social impact issue of importance to share. Hers was mental illness and depression

“When I first decided to do this project, many of the people who love me and my friends asked me why I would do this. Depression had consumed me and I did not see a point of going on. Because I have been there, I can see and understand what others are going through, both the young and elderly adults,” Chrisman said.

She said the Out of the Darkness events have helped give her hope because she has met people who spoke to her and cared for her.

“This gave me hope to carry on,” she said. “You are doing something amazing with this event and helping to change the community.”

Deb DiCillo of the Ohio Board of the American Federation for Suicide said the mission is prevention, save lives and bring hope to those effected by suicide.

“Our goal is to reduce the number of suicides by 20 percent by 2025,” she said

Cochran said each walker was asked to walk one mile around the track with walkers led by the Girard High School marching band.