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6th Annual Out of the Darkness Walk Puts Spotlight on Suicide Prevention

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On March 25, 2023, students gathered for the sixth annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk. The event is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP) and focuses on raising awareness of suicide and mental health issues.

“Mental health and suicide are topics that are often looked down upon in a negative perspective. As students, we believe it is important to talk about mental health and suicide to stand up against the stigma surrounding these topics. Talking about these topics is the first step in acknowledging the stigma and overcoming negativity for speaking upon the well-being of yourself and others,” said junior Sarah Cruz, walk chairperson. “I wanted to organize this walk to continue spreading the awareness, the cause of the walk and allow opportunities for students, staff, faculty and the Olivet community to stand up for suicide prevention and the stigma attached to mental health.”

The early morning start to the event didn’t stop students from enthusiastically grabbing different colored beads to wear. The colors represent different meanings to help people connect with others who have had similar experiences. For example, purple beads represent people who have lost a relative or friend, teal beads represent supporting someone who struggles or has attempted self-harm or suicide and green beads represent a personal struggle or attempt.

The pep band played as students and staff walked from campus to Olivet Public Schools, downtown Olivet, and back to the Square on campus.

More than $1,440 has been raised so far; donations will be accepted until June 16, 2023. “All the money goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to help continue to provide services on college campuses, mental health facilities/health centers, and more worldwide. This allows the organization to spread awareness about suicide prevention, provide resources for those that need them and educate the world about mental health and the serious effects of suicide,” Sarah said.

The AFSP has become a national leader in the fight against suicide by funding research, creating educational programs, advocating for public policy and supporting survivors of suicide loss. The organization collaborates with high schools and colleges nationwide to host campus walks, bringing together a community focused on suicide prevention thousands strong. According to the AFSP website, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, but it is the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 34, meaning college students and young adults are in the most affected age group. The AFSP dedicates 80 cents of every dollar raised to funding research and educational programs.

If you or someone you know has a mental health emergency or need immediate support, please contact the 24-hour crisis services hotline through Clinton-Eaton-Ingham Community Mental Health at 517-346-8318 or text the word “Hello” to the National Crisis text line at 741741.

Students are also encouraged to contact the The University of Olivet Health and Wellness Center by emailing counseling@uolivet.edu or stopping by Mott 212 for assistance in developing an action plan to resolve an issue, discuss a concern, process a transition, or learn a skill or technique to reduce stress.

For more information about the The University of Olivet Out of the Darkness Walk, contact Sarah Cruz at scruz@uolivet.edu. Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu

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