The University of Southern Mississippi Honors College Ambassadors will host an “Out of the Darkness” walk at the Azalea Walking Trail Saturday at 5 p.m. The event aims to raise suicide awareness and money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
According to the AFSP, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, and more than 1.5 million years’ worth of life are lost annually to suicide.
The AFSP works with college student groups to host “Out of the Darkness” walks across the country. Money raised by the event will go to the AFSP for research and educational programs to prevent suicide. However, the event is also meant to raise awareness for suicide awareness.
“Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death among college students,” said Alisha Randall DeFatta, Honors College ambassadors president. “Through this walk we are hoping to bring awareness to our campus and community the debilitating effects of suicide and mental illness, and ways they can help.”
The walk will not only raise funds, but also awareness. A representative from Student Counseling Services will be present to talk to the students about the signs of suicide.
“We have a goal of $5,000 and I expect us not only to reach that goal but to exceed it,” said sophomore honors ambassador Lakelyn Taylor.
“We have also had a good number of individual people and groups sign up so I imagine a lot of people will be attending this walk (which is a great thing). We’ve also been able to garner some community involvement. I also expect this walk to not have immediate results necessarily. The thing about an awareness walk is that sometimes you never really know how it impacted someone in their decision making.”
Check-in will start at 5 p.m. in front on the Payne Center.