OLIVET, Mich. — On Saturday, March 28, 2020, Olivet College will host the third annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk. The Out of the Darkness Campus Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), raises awareness of suicide and mental health issues.
The walk will be held in the Olivet College Square, 320 S. Main St., Olivet. There is no cost to participate in the walk, but registration is encouraged. Registration allows participants to join a team or engage in individual fundraising efforts. Registration is available online at www.afsp.org/olivetcollege through Friday, March 27 at noon; however, in-person registration is available at the walk on March 28 from 8:30-10 a.m. Donations are also being accepted online now through June 30, 2020.
“Holding the Out of the Darkness Campus Walk each year shows our students and the rest of our community that we take the issues of suicidality and mental health very seriously,” said John Moore, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology. “It demonstrates that we are not afraid to address this very sensitive issue, and it helps us to show everyone that hope exists, and that help and support are available. As painful as this subject is to talk about, it is profoundly
important that we continue to talk about it, and that we remove the stigma from being open about our mental health needs.”
Olivet College students, staff and faculty from the Marching Comets, psychology program and Gamma Iota Sigma professional insurance fraternity are teaming up to lead the Out of the Darkness Walk toward two main goals. First, to help erase the stigma of mental illness and suicide by offering a safe and open forum for discussion, while also having information and resources available. Second, to raise a minimum of $15,000; some of which will be used to enhance mental health support services on campus. In 2018, the fundraising goal for the walk was $5,000 and in 2019, the fundraising goal was $10,000. Donations exceeded the goals in both 2018 and 2019.
“Leading this walk the past three years has been one of the most challenging and most rewarding opportunities I've ever had,” said Olivet College senior and walk chairperson Abigale Smith. “Having lost two people in my life to suicide, I know firsthand the importance of the work we're doing with this walk, not only in raising awareness of suicide prevention and mental health, but also in bringing hope and healing to those affected by suicide. It is truly amazing to see the amount of support we've received from across campus and the surrounding communities, and it goes to show just how important this cause is.”
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 across the nation to host campus walks, bringing together a community focused on suicide prevention thousands-strong. The campus walks target a key age group of individuals, as suicide is the second leading cause of
death in the U.S. for those between the ages of 15 and 34. The AFSP dedicates 80 cents of every dollar raised to funding research and educational programs.
Learn more about the Olivet College Out of the Darkness Campus Walk by contacting Jeremy Duby, director of bands, at email@example.com. For more information about Olivet College, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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