Widener Communications Studies students Corey Laubenstein ’18, Hunter McGinnis ’17, and Meghan Nealon ’17, are using their senior project as an opportunity to make a difference on Widener’s campus by organizing a walk to prevent suicide. The Out of the Darkness Walk at Widener will be on Friday, April 7, 2017, at 3:30 p.m. on Memorial Field.
In 2013, a member of the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon passed due to suicide. Being personally affected by losing loved ones to suicide, and seeing how this type of loss affected the campus and the fraternity, the students are working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to bring an Out of the Darkness Walk to Widener’s campus for the first time on April 7.
The main goal of the walk is to raise awareness and unite people to show that the struggle with mental illness and depression is all around, and is nothing to be ashamed of. According to AFSP, 44,193 Americans die by suicide each year, and there are an average of 121 suicides in the United States per day. On average, one person in Pennsylvania will die by suicide every five hours, and over twice as many people die by suicide than by homicide each year. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and by raising awareness these statistics can drop significantly.
The Out of the Darkness Walk will also raise money for AFSP to provide help to those who may contemplate suicide or struggle with mental illnesses which may lead to suicidal thoughts. “Suicide cost Pennsylvania a total of $1,857,069,000 of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1,178,343 per suicide death.” That’s approximately $5,656,046.40 per day, and many health insurances will not help families cover these expenses because mental illness is not viewed as a real health problem or disease.
The money raised from the walk will go to AFSP, which will then use some of the donations to aide families who struggle to pay these expenses. This is why these walks are important: they providing financial help families of suicide victims, educating those who may not understand the reality of mental illnesses, and fund counseling for those who struggle with mental illness. This topic is sensitive to many, but it is important to come together to remember those lost to suicide, and to show other people that they are not alone in the struggle.
All who are interested in attending must register at this link: http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=4659. The deadline to register is March 31 at noon. Be sure to come out and support this capstone team’s efforts!