Love and positive vibes radiated throughout the College Green as both students and community members prepared to participate in the annual “Out of the Darkness” walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention. The event was hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and local sorority Sisters Making a Change.
Before the walk, there were various student performances and speeches about why this walk was important, as well as what people could do to raise awareness.
This is the sixth year that SMAC has hosted the walk on Geneseo’s campus. By the start of the walk, more than $10,000 had been raised for suicide awareness. The event took place on Sunday April 7, with the walk beginning on the College Green and covering two miles around the Geneseo campus.
“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide,” according to the official mission statement on the AFSP Facebook page.
The organization is dedicated to funding research, creating educational programs and helping people that have been affected by suicide. The foundation has set a goal to reduce the rate of suicide by 20% before 2025.
According to an article by The Livingston County News, Livingston County once had one of the highest suicide rates in the Finger Lakes region, but the Livingston County Suicide Prevention task force has been able to lower the rate significantly.
The walk is meant to raise money and awareness about mental health issues, preventing suicide and the struggles that people with mental health issues face every day. Honor beads were also given out for people to show why they had decided to walk.
There were many clubs and Greek organizations that attended the event, including the Rotary Club, AST and APO. Before the walk began, different tables hosted by different organizations were set up to help people learn about mental illness and where to get help for loved ones, as well as for themselves.
“I think [the walk] was important because so many people are affected by suicide, whether it be through friends, family or even an internal conflict,” freshman APO member Sarah Schmitt said. “The walk brings attention to the mental illness and addresses the elephant in the room—suicide—head on.”
The “Out of the Darkness” walk is very important as suicide affects many people throughout the country, including individuals within our campus community. Participating in this event is a great way to help and support each other, as well as raise money for research for people who have been affected by suicide.