Active Minds takes a walk for suicide prevention

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Active Minds takes a walk for suicide prevention

Photo by Ana Castillo
Active Minds' Out of the Darkness walk began at the Spellmann Center

Photo by Ana Castillo Active Minds' Out of the Darkness walk began at the Spellmann Center

Photo by Ana Castillo Active Minds' Out of the Darkness walk began at the Spellmann Center

Photo by Ana Castillo Active Minds' Out of the Darkness walk began at the Spellmann Center

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Photo by Ana Castillo Active Minds' Out of the Darkness walk began at the Spellmann Center

Active Minds’ Out of the Darkness walk began at the Spellmann Center.
Photo by Carly Fristoe

Stephen Hawkes | Reporter
April 19, 2016; 2:30 p.m.

More than 40 participants attended the “Out of the Darkness” suicide awareness walk on Friday, April 15. The event was co-sponsored by the Lindenwood mental health advocacy group Active Minds and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Registration began at 1 p.m., and with it a central portion of the event. Participants were given free food, a chance to purchase T-Shirts and to donate to AFSP and to gather a wide variety of free information surrounding suicide prevention.

Active Minds chapter president Amelia Fowler helps Liz Halpin set up at the starting point of the "Out of the Darkness" walk

Active Minds chapter president Amelia Fowler helps Liz Halpin set up at the starting point of the “Out of the Darkness” walk.
Photo by Carly Fristoe

“We offer educational materials… We offer programs for teens. We have one for college age,” said Linda Fehrmann, president of the Eastern Missouri Chapter of AFSP. “We have programs for people who have lost someone to suicide. We have a lot of support groups in the area. We have a survivor outreach team, which is a team of loss survivors who will visit with the family in their homes after a suicide has occurred.”

The walk further encouraged the conversation about suicide with beads. Participants were given the option of wearing beads with colors representing those who have lost someone to suicide, who have struggled personally with suicide and those who simply want to support the cause. Nine different colors were available in total.

AFSP also raised money through student donations. A free T-Shirt was given to every participant whose donations reached $100. The target number for this fundraiser was $3,000. By the end of the walk, the organization had surpassed its goal.

The walk itself began around 4 p.m. Starting in the lower parking lot of Spellmann, participants paraded up toward Evans, past the Student Athlete Center, around the Library, around Autozone, and ended in the same location they began. All the while, the lead participants carried a banner signifying the cause.

Photo by Ana Castillo The "Out of the Darkness" walk reaches Lindenwood's heritage side of campus

The “Out of the Darkness” walk reaches Lindenwood’s heritage side of campus.
Photo by Carly Fristoe

Several Lindenwood students volunteered to help manage the event. One volunteer, junior Kim Sommerkamp, described her motivation for volunteering as “caring about people and wanting everyone to be aware.”

“I think it’s really important to raise awareness about because it’s not something that is talked about, but it’s something that prevalent in our society and becoming more so,” Sommerkamp said. “A friend of mine from home committed suicide when I was a freshman in college, and it’s something that I struggled with personally when I was younger. I know lots of people who struggle with mental health issues… My soapbox is that the more people know about it, the more people talk about it, the less likely it is to occur.”