Be the Voice, Butler’s American Foundation for Suicide prevention, hosted the Out of the Darkness walk for Suicide Prevention over the weekend. Students and community members came together to walk for over 6 hours raising over $40,000 for suicide prevention. Photos by Evalyn Peacey.
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169 students and community members gathered for the annual Out of the Darkness Walk on Sunday, April 3. Hosted by Be the Voice, Butler’s American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chapter, participants walked for 380 minutes and raised $41,125 to show support and fundraise for the fight against suicide.
Participants wore Honor Beads during the walk — each color symbolizing a person’s relationship suicide.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Logan Blomberg, a senior management information systems major and the president of Be the Voice, said he believes this is in part because of the stigma around getting help for your mental health.
“I think it’s very common for college students to get wrapped up in their own mental health struggle and not find an outlet for correcting it and guiding themselves through it whether that’s counseling or just talking to a friend or advisor,” Blomberg said. “Whatever that looks like to each person is different. But just not being afraid to reach out before it becomes too big of a problem.”
Madison Morrett, a staff therapist at Counseling and Consultation Services, added that there are many factors that contribute to suicide being the second leading cause of death for college students. She explained that along with stress from academics, students can have a difficult time moving to college and becoming more independent. Transitioning to college can cause feelings of being overwhelmed, lonely and isolated.
For some students, like Blomberg, suicide awarness is important because of their own struggles with mental health.
“I myself have struggled in the past with depression and anxiety, and then also my sister has had multiple attempts as well, so it hits close to home,” Blomberg said.
Norah Rehor, a first-year exploratory student, said that although she has not been directly impacted by suicide, she sees the impact of it.
“I am blessed to have not had to deal with the direct impact of suicide in my own life,” Rehor said. “However, I do see the way they affect the communities I’m a part of. It pains the whole community that someone felt that they had no other choice.”
According to Morrett, awareness walks can be an effective way to end the stigma against mental health.
“[An awareness walk] helps us bring historically taboo topics, like suicide, out into the open so we can talk about it, [open] dialogue about it, and we can create a space where it’s safe to talk about it for those that might be experiencing it,” said Morrett. “I’m a big advocate for awareness pieces whether it’s a walk, or a tabling event, or different things that help spread information to people who might need it.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or your mental health, Blomberg and Morrett recommend reaching out to family, friends or CCS. There is also a 24 hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.