More than 2,000 take part in 'Out of Darkness' walk at Seattle Center

More than 2,000 people took part in the “Out of the Darkness” walk at Seattle Center on Sunday to bring light to mental health and suicide prevention.

“After someone passes, you start to put the pieces together of what they might be dealing with if they didn’t share it,” Iris Elton explained.

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Elton lost her fiance, Henri J. Gaudin, a New York City firefighter, in 2015 to suicide.

She was five months pregnant with their twins at the time.

“We were overwhelmed,” Elton said. “I was able to talk about that, and he wasn’t. So, I think life just piled up on him. And it became too much.”

Since his death, Elton hasn't missed Seattle's "Out of the Darkness" walk which has been shining a light on mental health and suicide prevention in the city for the last 10 years. It's organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Washington State Area Director Justine McClure says the number of walkers grows each year and this year they raised more than $230,000.

“That means people are having the conversation around mental health and suicide prevention. And the more people can speak about mental health, we know we can save lives,” McClure said.

But there is also darkness for the loved ones left behind.

KIRO 7 meteorologist Claire Anderson spoke to the crowd and shared how she lost her father to suicide.

“It’s been seven years and not a day goes by I don’t think about him, how I lost him,” Anderson said.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

By turning out at walks like these, survivors want those who are struggling to know they're not alone.

“We're all susceptible to our emotions getting the better of us,” Elton said.

Though Elton still has moments marked by grief, she also has two joyful daily reminders that life is worth living.

“But it's so important we help others realize how awesome life is and that’s a big part of my healing and I hope they learn a lot from that,” Elton added.

If you or someone you know is struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK. There's also a crisis text line. Just text "TALK" to 741741.