Walk in Hope event to shine light on suicide prevention this Sunday

Live in Hope will host its annual Walk in Hope hike to raise awareness about mental health issues and suicide in Taiwan

Live in Hope video announcing Walk in Hope event.

Live in Hope video announcing Walk in Hope event.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- This Sunday, May 7th, Live in Hope with the support of the Taiwan Suicide Prevention Center, will host its annual Walk in Hope hike, which this year will take place on Tiger Mountain.

Now in its second year, the purpose of the walk is to "raise positive awareness of body, mind and soul-well being," according to the organizers. The early morning starting time symbolizes the dark times that many people face every day when dealing with mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. Reaching the top as the sun rises symbolizes hope and a fresh new beginning.

The walk will be extra poignant in the wake of the recent suicide by a promising young Taiwanese writer, Lin Yi-han (林奕含), who was allegedly raped by her cram school teacher.

Live in Hope started in 2016 with a small group of friends of different nationalities who wanted to help those around them cope with mental health problems, depression, culture shock, and suicidal thoughts. Though they do not claim to be qualified therapists or doctors, they try to create a positive environment for all comers.

The group hopes to help both expats dealing with adjusting to life in a foreign land and to help remove the negative connotation that mental illness often has in Taiwan. "Our aim is to make people aware of mental health issues, in a positive way, to remove the taboo and stigma that surrounds people who need a helping hand," according to the group.

The walk is inspired by an annual event held in Ireland called Darkness into Light, which is organized by Pieta House. Live in Hope is run by a small group of volunteers with the aim of keeping events free or low cost as they are a non-profit, non-religious organization.

Last year's event had 70 participants and 100 are expected to take part in this year's hike. After the walk, the participants are welcome to join a group meal which will be held at a breakfast shop.

Date: May 7, 2017 Time: 4:30 a.m. Fee: Free
Location: Tiger Mountain 110, Taipei City, Xinyi District
Meeting point: Miculture Tiger Mountain, No. 186-1, Lane 221, Fude St, Xinyi District, Taipei City, 110