Students to walk for suicide prevention

Jessie Hellmann

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USI’s chapter of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is hosting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) annual Out of Darkness Community Walk on Oct 13 in Garvin Park in Evansville. Registration for the walk is at 9 a.m., and the opening ceremony is at 10 a.m.

“This is a cause that’s very near and dear to me,” USI TWLOHA President Erin Gillingham said about the walk, which raises money for the AFSP through donations.

Suicide takes the lives of 1,100 college students each year, making it the third largest cause of death for people ages 18-24. Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.

 

The AFSP, which is the leading nonprofit organization for suicide prevention and suicide prevention research in the United States, works on implementing programs for depression screening, suicide prevention techniques, and support groups for those that have lost someone to suicide, Gillingham said.

Gillingham was excited to say that this is the second year that USI’s TWLOHA chapter has hosted the Out of Darkness walk in Evansville.

Spectrum, USI’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning (LGBTQ) organization, is also adding its support to the walk. This is the first year that Spectrum has officially offered its support to the walk although members of Spectrum did participate in 2011’s walk.

“Suicide is a big issue in (the LGBTQ) community,” said USI Spectrum President Rei Poynter, who expressed a deep respect for the work of TWLOHA and Gillingham.

Spectrum plans to discuss teen suicide in several meetings leading up to the event and to hold a bake sale in the coming months to help raise funds and awareness for the event, Poynter said.

In addition to the three mile walk, there will be music from USI students, a raffle for jewelry from local jewelry designers, and fireworks. The event will also feature speeches from Vanderburgh County Coroner Annie Groves, AFSP’s Indiana chair Lisa Brattain, suicide survivors, and those who have lost loved ones to depression.

If you have any questions, want to donate to the event, or would like to help sponsor the event, contact Erin Gillingham at 812-887-6515.

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