Out of the Darkness: Walk To Prevent Suicide
A person dies by suicide in the United States every 15 minutes, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults. These statistics are shocking, and hit close to home considering college students fall within this age range. However, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is aiming to change this: Sunday April 13, is Centre County’s annual Out of the Darkness community walk.
“By walking in the Out of the Darkness Community Walks, you will be walking with thousands of other walkers nationwide to raise money for AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, increase national awareness about depression and suicide, and provide support for survivors of suicide loss. In deciding to walk you are taking us a step closer to making suicide prevention a national priority.”
The walk will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Sidney Friedman Park, but you’re going to want to get there early. Along with registration at 11 a.m. several members of the community will be sharing their own personal stories about suicide and loss to give the walkers a sense of what exactly what they are striving to prevent. Past walkers have reported how sobering these stories can be, but have also stated that it gave them a chance to see how much they are helping others in the community.
Registration closes at noon today, but you can still register in person on Sunday. So far the Centre County community walk has raised over $24,000 dollars with the help of 526 participants — but there’s always room for more! Every one knows someone who has been affected by mental illness, and now is your chance to make a difference.
If you or someone you love is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you are not alone. Penn State has several resources including the Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 814-863-0395 and the Center County CAN HELP hotline at 1-800-643-5432. If you would like to find more ways to get involved, Penn State is also home to a chapter of the national Active Minds campaign, a student club that promotes mental health advocacy and strives to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
The tragedy of suicide happens with alarming frequency. Below are two stories sharing the impact of and close connection to suicide, shared by members of our Penn State family.