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Hope walks with college students

Kaicie Boeglin 

News Editor


College students across Rhode Island are encouraged to join the 2024 Out of Darkness Campus Walk Sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The AFSP Out of Darkness walks are a part of a signature student fundraising series designed to engage young adults to advocate for suicide prevention.


The University of Rhode Island is hosting an AFSP sponsored Out of Darkness 5k around their Kingston campus on April 20, 2024. The on-site registration time is 9:00 a.m. and the walk begins promptly at 10:00 a.m. on the Kingston Quad. Individuals can register as a solo walker or as part of a team. Individuals can volunteer to help out the day of the walk and local businesses are welcome to join as sponsors. Registration for the event is open now but sign ups are still accepted the day of the walk. Donations will be accepted through June 30.


Graphic from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Those who register prior to the 20th can select an honor bead necklace to show why and who they are walking for. The AFSP states “The walks are journeys of remembrance and events that unite a community – a time to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected our lives and our loved ones. We all wear honor beads - each color shows our personal connection to the cause and helps us identify others who understand our experience.”


For those who want to match the honor bead colors: white represents loss of a child; red represents loss of a partner or spouse; gold represents the loss of a parent; orange represents the loss of a sibling; purple represents the loss of a relative or friend; silver represents the loss of a first responder or military cohort; green represents a personal struggle or attempt; teal represents those supporting someone currently struggling; represents supporting overall suicide prevention; rainbow honors those lost in the LGBTQ+ community.


As of 2023 the Center for Disease Control has suicide listed as the 11th leading cause for death in the U.S., but the third leading cause in those ages 15-24. Mental illness is an everyday struggle and an everyday killer. A CDC survey shows 94% of adults think suicide can be prevented, so show your support and register to walk on April 20th.


Walkers are encouraged to post on social media to share why they walk using the hashtags #HopeWalksHere and #OutoftheDarkness. Posting brings awareness to suicide prevention as a national priority, awareness to the event and sheds light for others going through a dark time. URI is currently the only school in Rhode Island to host an AFSP walk. URI has a donation goal of $10,000. AFSP uses donations to fund research for suicide prevention, create and distribute education programs, advocate for public policy and supports survivors of suicide loss.


If you or someone you know is in crisis please call 988 or text “TALK” to 741741.

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