Local parents bonded by grief, work to raise awareness about suicide prevention

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Both in Spokane and across the nation, suicide rates continue to rise, especially amongst men.

Organizers of the Out of Darkness Walk Spokane have a big goal this year. They want to raise $50,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It’s to help reach an even greater goal; to reduce the suicide rate in the United States by 20% by 2025.

They are hoping on Saturday, Liberty Lake’s Pavillion Park will be filled with people who share in their goal to raise awareness. One person who won’t miss it is Phillip Tyler. Nearly two years ago he lost his son Devon to suicide.

” He was 22-years-old. Brilliant, prophetic, wise beyond his years. Just a caring, loving young man, ” shared Tyler.

A guiding light through his profound sadness have been other members of our community who have felt the same loss.

” Sorry. It’s hard. It’s been five years but it’s one thing you’ll never get over, talking about him. He was my only child, ” shared fellow parent and the chairperson for the Eastern Washington chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Christie Mckee’s son Taylor was 20-years-old. He was a straight-A student, who had dreams of being a lawyer.

She added, “your life changes forever.”

Phil and Christie are now a part of a club no parent ever wants a membership to. Bonded in their grief though and drive to continue to share their stories.

McKee explained, “I don’t want any parent to go through what Phil and I went through.”

“If you get included in this tragic club, I think it’s our responsibility as parents, as suicide loss survivors to talk about it,” added Tyler.

From fundraising for easier access to prevention resources, to meeting with politicians and spending this beautiful Labor Day planning an event they hope will have a huge and lasting impact.

” It creates community. And a connected community can do so much more than a disconnected community, ” shared Tyler.

To join the Out of Darkness walk, click here.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, click here.