Kent State to Host Suicide Prevention Walk
Kent State University faculty, staff, students and Kent community members are invited to participate in “Out of the Darkness Campus Walk,” a national suicide prevention walk on April 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention holds the three- to five-mile walk every year to benefit the foundation’s research and education programs to prevent suicide. This is the first year Kent State will host a walk, which begins at the Student Green in front of the Kent Student Center.
“As educators, we grew concerned about the number of suicides occurring nationally, but specifically at Kent State and the local communities,” says Teresa Rishel, Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, and the organizer of Kent State’s walk. “Knowing that the second leading cause of death for college-aged students is suicide, our mission was to address this for the benefit of the Kent State students, staff and faculty.”
This year’s donation goal for Kent State is set at $15,000. Participants are asked to set a minimum fundraising goal of $100, but any amount will be accepted. “Suicide has no boundaries and anybody interested in walking is welcome,” Rishel says.
Participants are encouraged to form teams for the walk, wear group T-shirts, bring banners or team posters. Any walker who raises $100 and registers for the event prior to the walk will receive a free T-shirt.
“By raising funds, we can afford to increase the needed knowledge and awareness of suicide at this campus,” says Rishel. “We want to draw attention to suicide in a way that causes students to think about how the results of chronic depression, feeling alone, struggles and alienation, set the stage for suicidal thoughts and actions, either within themselves or their peer group, and equip them to address and help prevent suicide.”
The walk will begin and end at the Student Green. Rishel says there will be rest stations set-up along the walk where participants may get water and snacks.
“We will have a brief opening ceremony to get the walk started,” Rishel says. “Flash will be there to entertain and help maintain a positive atmosphere while addressing such a serious topic.”
The walk is free and open to anyone, as long as the walker is registered ahead of time. Participants may register up to the day of the walk and donations will be collected prior to the walk. The walk will continue on the set day, rain or shine.
For more information about the “Out of the Darkness Campus Walk” or to register, visit www.campuswalk.org.