Out of the darkness walk promotes suicide awareness

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Every 12 minutes someone dies from suicide; it is the tenth leading cause of death and the fourth leading cause in people for ages 15 to 64 in the United States. The “Out of the Darkness” campus walk is coming to spread awareness and bringing recourse into the hands of those who need it. On April 28, students are encouraged to gather to walk for and donate in the name of suicide prevention.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sponsors an annual walk in cities and on campuses alike with at least one walk in all 50 states each year. The “Out of the Darkness” walk was created to spread information and break the stigma around suicide. In 2017, there were 415 walks with about 250,000 people in attendance.

The AFSP was founded in 1987 and is a voluntary organization that gives help to those who have been affected by suicide by providing research and education for the prevention of suicide. Funds raised during the walk will go to the AFSP for research funding in order to help educate people about suicide and help the survivors. The foundation’s major goal is to reduce the suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025.

The Campus walk will be held at Spirit Park and open at 8:30 a.m. It will begin with an opening ceremony; the walk itself will start at 9 a.m. and lasts until 10 a.m. The event will end at 11 a.m., so on-goers are allowed to stay around and mingle.

There will be booths from various groups in the school which will be announced at a later date. They will hold various resources for suicide prevention. The event is family-friendly.

The walk will be at participants’ own pace as either individuals or groups. To register, participants can sign up online at https://afsp. donordrive.com/.

The same website can be used to donate to the individuals and groups participating. There is also a personal Facebook event and group for those seeking to get involved and spread the message. Online registration ends at noon on April 27, but donations will be accepted until June 30.

According to co-chairperson of AFSP Christina Jacobs the more people that are there, the more voices that can reach out and be reached out to. Jacobs urges anyone interested to find the Facebook group and get involved as there are many ways to volunteer your time other than participating in the walk.

Jacobs also says that breaking down the negative connotation surrounding suicide will bring less shame to the survivors and those who attempted.

“Mental illness does not discriminate… [Suicide] is not anyone’s fault, and it is absolutely preventable,” Jacobs said.

In the event of a crisis, The National Suicide Prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255 and the crisis text line can be reached by texting “TALK” to 741741.