Be a light. Help others come “Out of the Darkness”

Tassy Payne, Staff Reporter

Help prevent future suicides not just by fundraising, but by walking.

Saturday, September 26, IU Southeast will be hosting the second Out of the Darkness community walk at McCollough Plaza to end out IU Southeast’s Suicide Prevention week. This walk is done to support, honor, and fundraise for victims of suicide and to spread awareness to the community to prevent future suicides.

Suicide is the second leading death for traditional college aged students that is nationally rising. According to IUS Personal Counselor Michael Day, he said that there were 41,149 confirmed United States suicides in 2013. Day said that the Federal Government reported estimates of 23 veterans dying everyday.

Places people can look to for help are:

  • Church
  • Mental health providers
  • Emergency room
  • Police station
  • or call national hotlines

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a not-for-profit organization, said this Out of the Darkness community walk was done to help save lives. They said the funds raised go towards understanding and preventing suicide through research, education, advocacy, and outreaching to those with mental disorders and or impacted by suicide.

Every death by suicide is a loss and a tragedy, not only for the person and his or her family but also for the people they will never meet and help, the jobs they’ll never do.

— Angela Salas, director of the Honors Program

Day said that students who aren’t suicidal can help those who are by talking about it.

He said that our culture has been afraid to talk about it.

The AFSP said that until there is an open dialogue, people must lead the conversation together.

Day said that this year for the community walk, 44 people registered. He said that those interested in coming to participate may come and register the day of the walk. Registration begins at 10:00 am; the walk will begin at 11am and end at 1pm.

Dr. Angela Salas, director of IU Southeast’s honors program said she is doing the suicide walk along with the IUS honors program team.

“Every death by suicide is a loss and a tragedy, not only for the person and his or her family and friends, but also for the people they will never meet and help, the jobs they’ll never do, and the ways they will never again be able to enrich the world with their presence, their experience, and their gifts.  We may not always realize it, but we’re impoverished every day by the absences of those we’ve lost,” Salas said.

She recognizes her lack of training with suicide prevention as well as the positive impact she can make through small actions.

“I am not trained or wise enough to save people from the despair, or pain, or hopelessness that might lead someone to decide to end their life; however, I do hope that my daily behaviors toward others, my small contributions to organizations such as this and acts such as taking part in this walk, I might offer material and moral help, however humble that help might be,” Salas said.

She has contributed money personally and through a challenge to members, staff, and faculty of the honors program.

“If we have 15 people on our team, I’ll add 10 dollars per IUSHP walker to my contribution,” she said.

In addition to walking, Morris also raised funds.

“I personally raised $805 for last year’s fund raiser. This year I hope to beat my record and raise at least $1000. No donation is too small. If you can only afford $1, it can help in the prevention of a suicide. If you for some reason can’t participate in the walk, please be present to show your support and learn more about ways that you can help to prevent suicide,” Morris said.

Hannegan Roseberry, former New Albany city council candidate and teacher at Community Montessori school said that she will be doing the suicide walk with her group of students and her family. She said that she is proud to be walking with them.

“It is important for teens to have opportunities to reach out and be involved in organizations outside of school,” Roseberry said. “This opportunity speaks to the work we do together at school with A.S.S.I.S.T.

Roseberry leads the A.S.S.I.S.T suicide prevention group at her school. A.S.S.I.S.T is a committee that steers teens into planning activities, awareness campaigns, discussions, and events throughout the school year that focus on the goal of destigmatizing mental illness. She said that the most powerful thing they encourage is dialogue, and they remind the students that they are not alone.

“We try to fight isolation that comes from mental illness,” Roseberry said. “We encourage teens to keep their eyes, ears and hearts open to one another, and that when someone needs help, throw them a metaphorical rope.”

Roseberry said to continue to talk to someone.

“Society needs to become more comfortable talking about mental illness so that people don’t continue to suffer alone,” Roseberry said.