Today@Sam Article

Campus Walk To Highlight Suicide Prevention

April 4, 2016
SHSU Media Contact: Tammy Parrett

walk mapIn Texas, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It is also the third leading cause of death for ages 10-14, and the fourth leading cause of death for ages 35-44. 

In order to raise awareness about suicide prevention, the Sam Houston State University Counseling Center will host the inaugural SHSU Suicide Prevention Walk on April 23 at 10 a.m. at Bowers Stadium. 

“Unfortunately, there is still a stigma around mental health issues and suicide, in particular, and we would like to help reduce and work toward eliminating that stigma,” said Selina Guerra, staff psychologist with the SHSU Counseling Center.

The event is part of AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Campus Walks program, which was designed to engage youth and young adults in the fight to prevent suicide, the second leading cause of death among people ages 18-24. 

“We hope to help students realize that it is OK to reach out for help if they are in need of support,” said Michael Dickerson, mental health counselor and postgraduate resident with the Counseling Center. “We also want them to become aware of resources that are available to them on campus. In addition, we hope to shed some light on how many people are actually impacted by suicide, whether they have experienced the loss of someone personally, or know someone who has lost someone at the hands of suicide.”

The approximately 2.6-mile walk will begin and end in the north parking lot for Bowers Stadium.

Donations received at the walk will benefit the AFSP in their efforts to raise awareness, invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. AFSP is working to achieve their long-term goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.  

“By simply participating in this walk, you can help be a part of this change,” Guerra said.

Online registration is available at bit.ly/1RgqGZ1 until April 22; however, on-site registration will be available before the race begins.

The event is free and open to the public; however, donations are encouraged.

For more information, contact Dickerson at mdickerson@shsu.edu or Guerra at sxg020@shsu.edu.

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