Inclement weather didn’t stop more than 300 people from participating in the Out of the Darkness Walk, a suicide prevention campus walk, on Saturday, April 7, outside of Doc Bryan.
Registration and other pre-walk events usually held outside had to be moved into the building. The walk was also shortened from its usual one and a half miles to a mile. The route was determined by Public Safety and led by a patrol car. Participants could walk individually or in teams. Teams usually consist of participants who lost the same relative or friend to suicide.
Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide is a national program that takes place across the country on college cam
puses. This year, the walk raised $12,309 out of the $20,000 goal. The money was donated to 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.
Kristy Davis, associate dean for student wellness, wore colorful beads along with other participants. There are nine different color beads that represent a personal connection to the cause. Davis wore blue and gold to support suicide prevention and loss of a parent.
Tiffany Crowell, a mental health provider, from Clarksville, also wore beads. She chose to walk for her brother and has walked for the last five years. She advised others on what to do when they notice someone is severely depressed or suicidal.
“The first thing you’re going to do, just like if you were having a heart attack, you need to go to the emergency room,” said Crowell. “You need to get to the first source of help. From there we can contact a facility that can get the appropriate help for you.”
When placed in situations where a person is coming to a peer, discussing personal hardships, it’s a cry for help.
“It’s important, especially for today’s society to know that it is okay to say, ‘Man, I’m going through something difficult,’ and seek help for that,” said social worker Frances Carreon.
There are sources available to help those feeling depressed. The health and wellness center offers a variety of services and will have more suicide awareness events with the walk continuing to be held each year.
For additional information, students may contact Health Services at 479-968-0329 or visit the Room 119 in Doc Bryan