Second annual Out of the Darkness walk brings awareness to suicide prevention

Kayla Oliverio

The second annual Out of the Darkness suicide awareness walk moved through campus Thursday evening with about 713 participants in tow.

Out of the Darkness is a program backed by Sacramento State’s Active Minds Peer Health Educators and Student Health and Counseling Services along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

According to the AFSP, a person dies by suicide nearly every 14 minutes in the United States, claiming more than 38,000 lives each year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students, and the third for youths ages 15-24, with adolescent depression – undiagnosed, untreated or both – as the No. 1 cause.

Charisse Sumabat, senior psychology major, said she believes that being in college can foster feelings of stress and depression, leading to suicide.

“Most college students are more prone to suicide. (There is) pressure, (you have) a lot of stress, you have school, you have work, you have family,” Sumabat said. “A lot of people who work (full-time jobs), they just work, but when you’re in college you do everything else (adding to the pressure.)”

Thursday’s walk raised $19,609.44 through sponsored participants, funds that will go to the AFSP for research and education programs to help prevent suicide. These programs and events make a difference in the lives of those affected by suicide by raising awareness and encouraging hope.

Out of the Darkness helps bring awareness to students like senior biology major Nabilah Fareed.

“I never even thought about suicide or the victims until the walk and it made me realize people do commit suicide,” Fareed said. “It makes me more aware and to be cautious of friends or family members if they are going through something. Suicide might be one of the options that they are considering and you learn how to help them through the Out of the Darkness program.”

Sumabat believes that the awareness this walk brings to the campus community can make a change for someone who may need it when things get rough.

“If you touch one person or one person is aware, it makes a difference. It doesn’t have to be a big difference, but if you touch one, it’s a domino effect,” Sumabat said.

The Well’s mental health services are available to all students and they are encouraged to use them.

“We have the Student Health and Counseling Services at the Well, so if you’re feeling anxiety before exams or you’re depressed because you’re away from home, there’s (an outlet on campus for help),” Sumabat said.