Suicide Prevention Walk Held at Anderson University
Hundreds of volunteers from throughout the Anderson area participated in an Out of the Darkness Campus Walk April 1 at Anderson University to support suicide prevention efforts.
With nearly 30 teams fundraising, the walk has raised close to $9,000 thus far to support the suicide prevention efforts of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Gifts supporting the walk will continue to be accepted through April.
The walk began with an opening ceremony at the Anderson University Student Center. Speakers included Javis Austin, a former Clemson University football player who struggled with mental health issues, who shared his story of hope.
“Communication is how we learn, how we live through life, and how we alert others that something is wrong so that we can receive help,”said Austin, who lived through a suicide attempt in 1999 after losing his brother to a sudden heart attack and finding himself on the bench for much of the Tigers’ season. “There is a positive way through every situation. I didn’t take that route, but God gave me the second chance to show others that route.”
The ceremony also included the reading of a proclamation from the City of Anderson recognizing the day as Suicide Prevention Day. Pictured above is AU Student Government Association President Cooper Reynolds (standing) with Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts, signing the proclamation.
Thrive Wellness, the Anderson University health center, led the walk holding a banner as the top fundraising team.
The two-mile walk itself snaked through the Anderson University campus. Some participants walked in memory or in support of a loved one or in honor of their own mental health journey.
"Suicide will tell you that you are alone, but this walk is just evidence that so many people are here with you and for you," Meg Hindman, an AU junior who participated in the walk, said.
The funds raised will support the AFSP’s education, research and survivor support programs. In addition to raising awareness and funds to fight suicide, the walk gave those who attended a chance to connect with others engaged with the issue, said John Tjaarda, AFSP’s South Carolina representative who also spoke in the opening ceremony prior to the walk.
Local sponsors included the Blood Connection, iTrust Wellness Group, Guffee Dental Associates, Restoring Hope Counseling, Ruth Harbin Counseling, Greenville Counseling Associates, the Anderson University Student Government Association and AVI Food Systems.
The Anderson University campus walk was one of hundreds of events being held nationwide this year to support AFSP.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have had a loss. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, with an advocacy office in Washington, DC, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico with programs and events nationwide.