Out of the Darkness: rise to suicide prevention

www.solvibrations.org

Arkansas Tech will be hosting its annual Out of the Darkness Campus walk on Saturday, April 7 at 9 a.m

The walk is 1 1/2 miles and starts at Doc Bryan. It is free to register online, at www.AFSP.org/ATU, and attend the walk. Donations are encouraged.

The Out of the Darkness Walk is a national event that “aims to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention” said Kristy Davis, Associate Dean for Student Wellness and Counselor.

The event is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is the nation’s largest non-profit organization, dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. The foundation invests in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support family members who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s goal is to reduce the annual suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025.

This is the event’s fifth year at Tech. The first 3 years, ATU was in the top 10 highest fundraisers in the country, said Davis. In the past 4 years, the local chapter has raised $78,503. So far, they have raised $9,224 of a $20,000 goal, and donations are accepted until June 30.

“I think this event is really special because it encourages people to seek help that may have otherwise felt lost and helpless,” Kirsten Dunn, junior communications major from Mansfield, who has attended the walk as a supporter in the past.

Several organizations on campus assist with the event, including Sigma Pi Fraternity. Suicide awareness is one of the fraternity’s national philanthropies an action done to better humanity.

“This is something that hits close to home for us as we have lost two brothers in the past four years,” said Collin Moore, senior marketing and management major from Greenwood.

Attendees can show support by wearing honor bead, different colored necklaces that represent experiences with depression and suicide. The colors identify those that have lost a friend, family member, child, struggled personally or just support the cause.