‘Don’t Walk in the Dark’ a huge success for Colleton County
by The Press and Standard | October 11, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: October 10, 2018 at 10:28 am
Making a difference:
13-year old CCMS
Corbett organizes a
suicide awareness walk.
By CINDY CROSBY
Colleton County Middle School eighth-grader Abigail Corbett did what a lot of people have talked about doing over the last year — addressing the issue of suicide in the community. The difference is, this middle-schooler not only talked the talk, she walked the walk.
After attending a Suicide Symposium on Sept. 18 at Colleton Medical Center, Corbett came away determined to make an impact. Friday evening, she did just that with a suicide awareness event “Don’t Walk in the Dark,” where community members came together in hopes of raising awareness.
“Suicide is a dark, sad and tragic event that no one person or family should ever have to go through,” said Corbett Friday evening. “Death by suicide is done for many different reasons such as family issues, bullying, a state of mind or even to just stop the pain.
“Growing up in a household with a mother who was very interested in mental health issues to the point where she made it a huge part of her career, I was always taught just because someone has a mental health illness that doesn’t make them crazy, weird or any different from anyone else. The people most likely to have mental health issues or die from suicide fall into the age group of 12-24. Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death and has tripled in the last 10 years.
“Looking around at most of you tonight, many of us fall into that age group,” said Corbett. “So, instead of all this fighting over meaningless drama, which I am often guilty of too, we should all join as youth fighting for this cause and try to prevent it. Instead of working against each other — let’s work with each other. Remember, don’t walk in the dark — you are not alone.”
Angie Salley, clinic director at Coastal Empire Community Mental Health, was on-hand for Friday evening’s event. “I felt both honored and proud to be part of such an amazing event in my hometown,” said Salley. “When Abigail’s mother, Mindy Corbett, first reached out to me for support from Coastal Empire Community Mental Health in helping her make this happen, I was moved to tears. The impact of a 13-year-old passionately wanting to make a difference also motivated many others. We should all want to make a difference in changing the statistics as suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds.
“Colleton County has had a record 13 deaths by suicide this year,” said Salley. “This is a tremendous loss to our community that should serve as a call to action. Abigail Corbett answered that call after attending the Suicide Symposium on Sept. 18, which was coordinated by Colleton Medical Center’s Deborah Parker and staff, along with many other community partners. The focus of these events is to help break the stigma associated with mental illness and to help others recognize early warning signs of someone who could be at risk.
“The event was well-organized and there was strong support from her family, the school, the hospital, NAMI Lowcountry and many others,” said Salley. “The family-oriented event included face painting, games, music and a balloon release of 13 glow-in-the-dark balloons for the members of our community who have died by suicide.
“She did an amazing job and so did everyone else who helped out,” said Salley. “If you need help, please speak up and seek help. Find someone to talk to that can help or point you in the direction of help. Abigail is certainly a light in a dark world!”
Corbett plans to make the event an annual one that will hopefully continue to grow and benefit the community. Sponsors and donations were received from Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, Coastal Empire Mental Health, DJ Jenny Garvin, IGA, Bi-Lo and Save-a-Lot with nearly $1,000 in donations to NAMI of the Lowcountry received. In addition to Corbett, numerous family volunteers, friends and teachers helped with the event.