“Suicide is a leading cause of death, and it can be prevented,” said Dr. Mallory Garza, Assistant Director of Student Health and Wellness in Louisiana Tech University’s Counseling Center.
Close to 10 percent of the student population have sought mental health services from June 2021 to January 2022, Garza said. The need inspired Counseling Services and its Peer Leadership Council to sponsor the University’s Out of the Darkness Walk, which benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“Out of the Darkness Walks occur in communities and on college campuses throughout the United States, with all proceeds going directly to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to fund research, training, intervention, and programming to help stop suicide,” Garza said.
According to the AFSP website, suicide is the third leading cause of death for individuals ages 10 to 34 in the state of Louisiana. Suicide is also the 12th leading cause of death in the nation and the second leading cause among college students.
AFSP is the largest suicide prevention organization in the nation with chapters in all 50 states that organize events such as Out of the Darkness.
“It’s important to raise awareness for such a significant thing that happens in our society,” said Gabriel Freeman of the Peer Leadership Council. “We’re open to talking about physical health but when it comes to mental health, we like to brush it off. This is to shine a light on suicide and to help students and the community understand the importance of being aware.”
The Out of the Darkness Walk will take place at 10 a.m. April 30 starting in Aspire Plaza. Registration is now open online for anyone in the campus community.
“Talk saves lives,” Garza said. “Whether you are suffering from suicidal thoughts, or you’re concerned about someone, assume you are the only person who will reach out. Suicide prevention starts with everyday heroes like you.”
For more information on how you can support or sponsor this event, contact Garza at email@example.com or 318.257.2488.
If you need help, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255), or text TALK to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Louisiana Tech students can also call the Louisiana Tech Police Department at 318.257.4018.
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