Alaska has the nation's second-highest suicide rate, according to 2017 data from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The data shows 27 out of every 100,000 Alaskans are lost to suicide each year.

Dennis Lasley heads the Alaska chapter of the organization and he wants to lower the state's suicide rate.

"We have to break that stigma, and teach society that it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to ask for help; it's okay to need help," says Lasley. "Those are not signs of weakness, in fact, those are signs of strength."

Lasley is among those who met at Albrecht Fields for the Out of the Darkness Walk, a gathering to remember those lost to suicide and to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

"I've had family members pass away from suicide, and part of why I'm here today is to help raise awareness," said participant Crystalyn Lemieux.

The Out of the Darkness Walk in Anchorage raises money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and this year's walk raised more than $74,000.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

 

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