HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

‘We miss her’: Annual Out of the Darkness Walk helps raise awareness of suicide

Sep 10, 2022, 6:47 PM | Updated: Sep 30, 2022, 5:48 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Thousands of supporters and nearly $250,000 raised — all for the fight against suicide at the annual Out of the Darkness Walk in West Jordan Saturday morning.

And while those are certainly big numbers, for many, the number on their minds is just one.

Here, everyone has a reason for coming. Some came to raise money. Others came to offer support. And those like Carla Jones came to remember a child.

“She was 26,” Jones said. “She was beautiful, and she had the greatest smile. She had two little girls, and she had been struggling with mental illness for a very long time.”

Jones’s daughter Bailey died by suicide nearly two years ago.

“One day, an impulsive move, and it took her,” Jones said.

Bailey was studying to become a paralegal. She’s remembered for her cooking, baking, and having what her family calls “a little bit of sass.” But amid all those happy memories, there’s one that’s top of mind for Jones.

Bailey Portela died by suicide in October of 2020.

“When two officers come to your door, it’s very alarming, and it was very sad,” Jones said.

Bailey isn’t just remembered by her mother but also by her twin sister, McKenna Seneshale.

“Bailey had struggled with depression,” she said. “She’d struggled with anxiety. She had an eating disorder. She was fighting for a really long time. She just couldn’t figure out a way out. And we miss her.”

Seneshale said the news wasn’t necessarily surprising but still left her in shock.

“We knew she was having a hard time, but sometimes it’s hard to see when they’re that close,” she explained. “That’s a reason I think we’re out here. To try to build some community, to try to educate ourselves and others about the signs that someone might be feeling suicidal, and how to talk to somebody who may be feeling suicidal. We really just want to start reaching out at this stage in our healing to try to help people who are hurting like Bailey was. And hurting like we are.”

An estimated 2500 people raised nearly $250,000 at the Out of the Darkness Walk.

Seneshale believes those who are struggling often can’t see the world in the way others do.

“Depression is a liar,” she said. “Depression tells you that nobody cares and nobody loves you. It’s not true. There are people out there for you, there are people in your lives who love you, and they care about you, even if you maybe can’t recognize it.”

Everyone has a reason for coming. And for Bailey’s family, it’s not just about remembering her or offering a helping hand to those struggling. For them, it’s also about reaching out to those who are being asked for help.

“Don’t be afraid of someone if they’re suicidal,” Jones said. “Don’t push them away, but they need to be embraced, and they need to be held and comforted. You just kind of have to hold on to them.”

If you or a loved one are struggling, you can find help at the new hotline number by dialing 988, or by visiting save.org.


Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis care worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute as well.

Additional resources

  • SafeUT: Parents, students, and educators can connect with a licensed crisis counselor through chat by downloading the SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-33888)
  • SafeUT Frontline: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app.
  • SafeUTNG: Members of the National Guard can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUTNG app.
  • Utah Warm Line: For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • The Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers a wide variety of programs and services including suicide prevention and crisis services, hospital treatment, therapy & medication management, substance Use & addiction recovery, child & teen programs, and maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
  • LiveOnUtah.org is a statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing Utah’s culture around suicide and mental health. They offer resources for faith based groups, LGBTQ+, youth, employers, firearm suicide prevention, and crisis and treatment options.

Other community-based resources

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‘We miss her’: Annual Out of the Darkness Walk helps raise awareness of suicide