By Katelyn McKinney
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and its supporters will walk the Univerity of Mississippi campus Sunday, Oct. 27 from 1-3 p.m. in order to spread awareness for suicide prevention and help those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
The walk will take place on the UM campus and will begin at the Grove stage with speakers and vendors. Participants will walk the route through the campus, which ends at the Lyceum, and then meet at the Grove stage for the closing remarks and raffle.
The Out of the Darkness Walk benefits the AFSP. The funds raised will go toward research, creating educational programs, advocating for public policy and supporting survivors of suicide loss.
“Everyone in the community who attends the Out of the Darkness Walk will benefit from this event,” said Julia Plauche, chair of the Out of Darkness Walk. “In addition, everyone in the nation suffering from suicidal ideation will possibly benefit for the funds raised from this event go towards research, creating educational programs, advocating for public policy and supporting survivors of suicide loss.”
This year, the Ole Miss Out of the Darkness Walk has six sponsors. They include Right Track Medical Group, Kappa Alpha Order, Campbell Psychological Services, Communicare, the UM Counseling Center and Oxford Treatment Center.
“I was attracted to this organization because I have always been a huge advocate for mental health and I have known people throughout my life who have suffered from depression and suicidal ideation,” Plauche said.
Suicide is a prevalent issue in today’s society, especially on college campuses. This event is aimed to spread awareness and let people know that they are not alone.
“In fourth grade, my uncle took his own life,” said Alexa Hansen, co-chair of the Walk. “I saw first-hand how this affected not only me, but everyone around him. Since then I have had my own battle with depression and anxiety that has been off and on since middle school. I also have an amazing best friend who has attempted twice since being in college. I hope that this walk shows people that there should be no stigma attached to mental health, depression, suicide, self-harm or anything of that nature. There is an end to the pain and no one fights alone.”
Depression is an ongoing journey for most and this is a community event where those suffering are welcome to come to be supported and give support to others. The Out of Darkness Walk is a way to honor those who suffer from mental illness and those who have lost their lives.
“This is my second year making a team in honor of my father, Marty Campbell who took his life Aug. 31, 2010,” said Chloe Campbell, a University of Mississippi sophomore. “I have participated in The Out of Darkness Walk back in my hometown, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to participate again in Oxford. Last year and this years donation comes to almost $5,000 and I am so thankful and humble for the donations and support from all over.”
The Out of Darkness Walk allows participants to make teams in order to all walk in honor of one particular person.
“I made a team in remembrance of my Father and have a handful of my friends and sorority sisters coming to support me on this special day,” Campbell said. “Hearing parents share their stories of losing their child and other suicide survivors is so humbling and makes you appreciate your loved ones surrounding you. The Out of Darkness Walk is something so special to me and I will continue to support others around me and advocate for mental illness.”
All are welcome to register for the walk and can do so by following this link. There is no registration fee, but donations are encouraged.