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Walking Out of the Shadows

The University of Mississippi partners with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise money for suicide prevention and awareness.
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It is estimated that 36,000 people commit suicide every year in the U.S., according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website. The University of Mississippi, in conjunction with the ASFP, is attempting to reduce that number. On Oct. 14, the Ole Miss Department of Psychology will host its third annual Out of the Darkness walk. Students, faculty and community members will join together at the Lyceum and walk three to five miles to help fund suicide prevention research. “The Out of (the) Darkness walk is an opportunity for individuals who are concerned about suicide to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention and intervention,” Brandy Baczwaski, co-chair of the walk, said. Among the day’s activities will be a raffle with prizes. “Some of the raffle prizes include gift cards to restaurants, really nice pottery, knitted items for babies and a basket full of jams and jellies that our secretary made up,” Bethany Aiena, co-chair of the walk, said. “We are going to continue to ask for donations until the day of the walk, so we are expecting great raffle prizes.” Half of the money raised will go to the AFSP to help fund research on strategies to prevent suicide. The other half will go to a suicide prevention group in Oxford. The walk isn’t just about raising money, though. It is also about creating an atmosphere in which it is comfortable to talk about depression, anxiety and suicide. “(Suicide) is something that people think about, but because it’s steeped in silence, they don’t talk about it,” Josie Nicholson, a counselor at the University Counseling Center, said. “That is where the danger is.” For more information or to register, visit www.outofdarkness.org.