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Out of Darkness event aims to combat ‘suicide epidemic’


The fourth annual American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)’s Las Cruces Out of the Darkness Walk will be a little different from past years, said AFSP New Mexico Chapter board member and event chair Robyn Rehbein-Narvaez.

“Due to Covid-19, we have moved the walk to a hybrid in-person event,” Rehbein-Narvaez said.

This year, the event will include a drive-thru at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, followed by a bead ceremony at 10 a.m.

The drive-thru and bead ceremony will be held at the Doña Ana County Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd. Participants can choose to walk there after the bead ceremony or schedule their walk at any time they choose.

The drive-thru is so participants can pick up goodie bags from event volunteers, Rehbein-Narvaez said.

The bead ceremony includes nine different-colored beads “to represent losses and struggles with suicide,” she said. “We go through each color bead and have people hold up their bead so that they can see they are not alone.” 

Sign up for the event at afsp.org/lascruces. You can also make a donation on that page.

Rehbein-Narvaez encouraged everyone to check the website before the event in case there are schedule changes.

The last in-person Out of the Darkness Walk had nearly 1,000 participants and raised more than $20,000 “for education and prevention of suicide in New Mexico,” Rehbein-Narvaez said.

“Like many, I walk because suicide has affected me personally,” she said. “In February 2018, I lost my nephew to depression and anxiety by the means of suicide. Since then, I have dedicated my time to educating others about suicide prevention and mental health.”

Rehbein-Narvaez is the clinical supervisor and registered play therapist-supervisor at Art of Healing Therapy Center in Las Cruces.

The walk’s goal “is to spread awareness about the suicide epidemic, as New Mexico has the highest rate of suicide in the U.S., and it is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-34. We want people to know they are not alone,” she said.

Contact Rehbein-Narvaez at 575-496-8532 and robynrehbein@gmail.com.