RIO GRANDE — Students, staff and faculty at the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are teaming up with members of the community to show their care and support for one another.
This spring, individuals from throughout Rio Grande and the surrounding area will come together to participate in the inaugural Rio Out of the Darkness Campus Walk hosted by the Office of Accessibility and Mental Health Services. The event will take place at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the University of Rio Grande main campus. Kelly Bonice, director of Accessibility and Mental Health Services at Rio said this fundraising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s local and national education and advocacy programs and its goal of a 20 percent decrease in the annual suicide rate by 2025.
“This is a cause I am very passionate about, both professionally and personally. We walk to raise awareness about this important health issue. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-24 and the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it is preventable,” Bonice said. “We hope that by walking, we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”
The Rio Out of the Darkness Campus Walk is one of more than 125 Out of the Darkness Campus Walks happening nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than twenty-five thousand walkers and raise over a million dollars for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s efforts. The organization is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP works to create a culture educated about mental health through community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. CEO Robert Gebbia said AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide.
“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental health conditions.”
Registration for the Rio Out of the Darkness Campus Walk is already under way for both students and members of surrounding communities. Bonice said the goal for Rio’s walk is to raise $3,000 for suicide prevention efforts.
“When I speak to groups, I ask how many people have been affected by suicide in some way and almost every single person raises their hand. This is a major reason why we need to create awareness and raise these funds for prevention efforts,” Bonice said. “I’m glad our students care so much about spreading awareness and being a part of this community to help get the message out there to others.”
Anyone in the community can learn more about AFSP and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. To register for the walk, please visit www.rio.edu/accessibility. For more information, contact Kelly Bonice at (740) 245-7439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article submitted by URG.
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