Students Walk to Lead Others Out of the Darkness

MIRANDA MARITATO | Staff Reporter

Every 13.7 minutes, someone in the United States commits suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for individuals of ages 15 to 24, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

In past years, Butler University has hosted the AFSP’s Out of the Darkness walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention.  This year, freshman Katie Larimore organized the walk with the help of freshman Katherine Goens.

“The walk raises awareness and brings everyone together,” Larimore said. “A lot of people think it’s a teenage thing, like you grow out of depression. It is more lethal than cancer for our age group right now. It’s the third leading cause of death with kids our age, and no one knows that.”

Butler’s Counseling and Consultation Services is hosting the walk this year with the support of Butler’s To Write Love on Her Arms organization. Larimore and Goens said they are excited to work with the counseling center and TWLOHA and have their sponsorship behind the event.

“I did my first walk last semester,” Goens said. “It was a good experience. When Katie came to me about putting this together, I was excited to help. There’s no reason not to. Why wouldn’t we do this?”

The walk will take place on April 6 at 2 p.m., beginning at Atherton Union. The registration deadline is April 4 at 12 p.m. Donations can be made after the walk until July 1 at 12 a.m.

“AFSP does a series of campus walks throughout the spring and summer, mainly to raise money, but also to raise awareness,” Larimore said. “The money goes to running suicide hotlines, research, support, therapy centers and things like that.”

Half of the money will go back into Indiana ASFP programs.

The walk aims to bring communities together and raise awareness for the cause, Goens said.

“Depression and mental illness is something that is really uncomfortable to talk about,” Goens said. “There is a really dark connotation to it. The walk brings light to the issue. It lets you realize that depression is a condition.”

Larimore said she thinks depression is an under-recognized epidemic.

“Depression is an illness, just like the flu,” Larimore said. “You aren’t embarrassed when you have a cold, you aren’t embarrassed when you have the flu. You shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about this. It’s okay to ask for help.”

The Butler community has responded positively to the event.

“We posted the event on Facebook February 18, and before four full days, we had 63 participants and $975,” Larimore said. “Last year, they didn’t even get 100 walkers and they raised $5,500. We’re hoping for $7,000.”

By registering for the walk and raising $100, participants receive a free shirt. Each organization that reaches its set goal will  be an official sponsor.

On the day of the walk, speakers from ASPF will be present.

“Everyone is happy to walk for Relay for Life and breast cancer awareness, and those are all amazing causes. But this is the underdog cause that is more obvious and apparent than people realize,” Larimore said. “I think this is a good opportunity for our campus and community to come together and acknowledge that and support each other.”

“Every 13 minutes someone commits suicide, and every 14 someone is left to deal with it.”

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