Belmont community members gathered on Saturday, Sept. 9 to participate in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Out of the Darkness Walk at Belmont University, organized by Belmont’s Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.
The Out of the Darkness Campus Walks are the AFSP’s signature student fundraising series designed to engage youth and young adults in the fight to prevent suicide, the third leading cause of death among people ages 15-24. This is Belmont’s second year to host a campus-specific walk to support the larger AFSP fundraising goal.
“Belmont has always done a great job creating a safe for campus community members and addressing mental health stigmas,” said Tiffany Cooper, Captain of Events and 1st Shift in the Office of Campus Security and Campus Walk Chair. “This event is so special because it sends a message of hope — especially during National Suicide Prevention Month— that though suicide can tend to be a taboo subject, there is a network of support and resources for those struggling.”
With more than 196 participants, the walk raised more than $11,035, exceeding this year’s goal of $10,000. The walk began at the bell tower and ended in front of the fountain at Freedom Plaza.
According to the AFSP website, the Out of Darkness Community Walks has created a movement. Held on hundreds of campuses across the country, these events give people the courage to open up about their own connections to the cause, and a platform to create a culture that is more informed about mental health.
Belmont’s Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention consists of the following members: Angie Bryant, Tiffany Cooper, Catherine Cornelius, Heather Daugherty, Sally Dodd, Susan Rinehart and Dr. Susan West.