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      Suicide prevention walk offers peace to families

      Families from around mid-Missouri came together at Fulton State Hospital Sunday to raise awareness of the impact suicide can have on a community. Each year, more than 36,000 Americans die by suicide, and more than 20 million suffer from depression. Melody Seiger, organizer of the "Out of Darkness" community walk, knows herself just how painful it is to lose a loved one to suicide. Her own mother took her own life when Seiger was just 16 years old, sending her whole family on a long journey of recovery. "I went through anger, and the whys and the hows and the what it's," Seiger said. "I was mad at her, I was mad at other people, I was mad at my family. I went through every grief stage there was." That's why seiger helped organize Sunday's walk - to bring together families and friends of loved ones who took their own lives. Seiger's goal is for families and individuals to realize they aren't alone. Many people at the walk were wearing different color beads, the color of which symbolize the type of loss the family endured. White means the family lost a child, while purple means they lost a relative or a friend. Blue means someone didn't lose anyone to suicide, but came to support the cause. The beads are there to help families have a conversation about who they lost, and find a way to move forward. Michelle Teel's family came out to do just that. Michelle lost her sister to suicide in 1996. She says, it was hard for a long time but that the walk has been tremendously helpful. "I'm wearing these orange beads because I lost my sister. Others might see that I am wearing orange and be wearing the same color beads, I could strike up a conversation with them and help them deal with it and learn how to cope," Teel said. "It's a sad situation when this happens, but it's really great when the whole community can come together and celebrate life. Seigler says, it's important for people to talk to each other about what hurts, because it's the first step towards moving on and finding peace.