In support of suicide awareness and defeating harmful stigmas around mental illness, the second annual “Out of the Darkness Suicide” Awareness Walk will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, on the Quad.
Organized by the HWS Health Promotions Club and supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the second annual event will bring together allies, relatives, friends, community members and survivors as a way of standing up for mental health awareness. This year’s goal is to raise $5,000 for AFSP, a national nonprofit that educates, advocates and supports those who have been impacted by suicide and those with who live with mental illnesses.
Health Promotions Club President Cece Carsky-Bush ’16, who is organizing the walk, says when her brother, Alex, passed in 2009 after taking his own life, her passion to bring awareness and change became stronger than she could have ever imagined.
“I realized especially after Alex passed that the stigma was too overwhelming of a barrier, especially for college students,” says Carsky-Bush. “I am striving to pave the way for more initiatives, events, and cohesive and effective education and resource methods, bringing together the array of existing and future academia to my campus and beyond.”
Cece Carsky-Bush says that something can and needs to be done so that suicide, mental illness, addiction, self-harm, eating disorders and other struggles faced by people will claim less lives.
“I am aiming to create an atmosphere of disclosure and peer support, making it a persistent mission among academic and student affairs to get students to seek help and through challenging times should they arise, while continuing to offer engaging and thought-provoking events and learning channels to students.”
For the second annual event, “Out of the Darkness” facilitators are seeking to reach as many people as possible to boost awareness and reduce the stigmas in hope of changing lives.
The event is free and open to the campus community and members of the public. Donations are encouraged and a brief registration is requested between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Attendees receive a free T-shirt and bracelet, while enjoying free food, live music and student performances, raffle prizes and Quad games and activities. There will also be campus and community resources available to all during the event.
Last year, the “Out of the Darkness” walk raised $3,000 for AFSP. To help reach the 2015 goal of $5,000 and to register, visit the HWS AFSP donation page.