By Abby Sunu
From 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on September 29, Erika’s Lighthouse will be hosting their 10th annual walkathon in Winnetka, Il. A 20 dollar contribution will pay for one participant to walk a two mile course. Prizes, food, and a t-shirt will also be provided. Not only will this fun atmosphere benefit others, but the whole reason for this walkathon is to raise awareness and “get depression out of the dark”.
Prospect High School takes part in Erika’s Lighthouse which is a non-profit organization that educates others about adolescents depression. All high school students are welcomed to join this club and as of now, there are three seniors and two counselors that take part in this group.
Senior Elena Cukurs being one of those members said, “Erika’s Lighthouse is a group that gets depression out of the dark and makes people really think about what depression is. [Erika’s Lighthouse] tries to get rid of the stigma that surrounds depression so that people understand that depression is an illness.”
According to mentalhealth.org.uk, about nine out of ten people with depression agree the discrimination and stigma that goes along with mental health causes more problems and has a negative impact on their lives. These stereotypes continue to make it harder for people who are struggling to reach out for help.
“I feel depression shouldn’t be kept in the dark and it should be easy for people to talk about,” Senior member Gracie Hamilton said.
“So many people are affected by depression that a lot of people don’t even realize [depression when they see it]. This makes it harder for people to come out and say they have depression because no one recognizes it,” Cukurs said.
Both Cukurs and Hamilton take part in spreading awareness by talking to the health classes last year. This helped others open up and caused Erika’s Lighthouse to gain new members.
“I think other people should join Erika’s Lighthouse to help spread the word and you really never know in your life who is suffering from depression,” Cukurs said. “You really want to understand how to handle it and what you should do if someone does have depression.”