WILMINGTON — Five years ago, Keenan Rinehart died by suicide. It was a moment that shocked his family and his friends.
Ever since then, Annen Stuckert and other friends of Keenan have participated in the Out of the Darkness Walk this Sunday in Cincinnati. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s nationwide event helps bring attention to the resources people can use to prevent anyone from taking one’s life. Stuckert has used it as a way of mourning and coping with the loss, and has become a strong advocate for suicide prevention.
“It’s been a really nice process for people who grieve,” Stuckert said. “You go and you see other people going through the same kind of thing. People will go in teams, they have shirts made and walk together. It’s been really helpful for the group of friends I go with.”
Joining Stuckert on this walk are Jane Riley, Hillary Carr-Henderson, and Sonja Koehler. Keenan’s family has participated in the event in the past; although they will not be walking with them this year, the family has shown unconditional support for Stuckert’s group.
Stuckert has been raising money through the Out of the Darkness website. For this year’s walk, her group has raised $1,275 so far. Stuckert herself has raised $2,030 in the five years she’s been doing this; a lot of the money comes from friends, families and other locals.
“It’s good,” said Stuckert, “even our friends who have shared that they’re doing this walk have gotten messages saying thank you for talking about this, and I’ve been struggling, and thank you for sharing the info.”
Another reason Stuckert continues to do the walk is to continue the discussion and raise awareness on suicide. At the walks she has seen thousands of people come in and share their stories, including survivors. As Stuckert describes it, it’s throwing a lifeline out to people.
“We’re not just raising money and giving it to someone, we’re talking about it,” Studkert said. “We’re talking about people with mental health issues and saying, ‘Reach out to someone.’ Don’t feel like you have to do this alone.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to Stuckert’s team can do so by visiting afsp.donordrive.com and search for Annen Stuckert. They can also make a donation to the foundation throughout the year.
To reach out for help, one can call the National Suicide Helpline number 1-800-273-8255; if a veteran is in crisis, they can also get help at veteransincrisis.net. There they can text or engage in confidential online chats.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574