From Darkness to Hope Tuscaloosa’s Suicide Awareness Walk

When University of Alabama senior Mae Farmer was a child in Indianapolis, Indiana, she struggled with anxiety and depression. Her passion for mental health and her desire to see more young people involved in conversations about it led her to collaborate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which is organizing a series of Out of the Darkness walks.

The Tuscaloosa walk is scheduled for Sunday, September 24th. According to AFSP, suicide is the third leading cause of death in Alabama for young people aged 10-24, with 793 reported suicide deaths in Alabama in 2020.

Farmer believes that these walks play a crucial role in raising awareness about a topic that is often difficult to discuss openly. She emphasized that discussing suicide is essential because it can make a real difference in people’s lives.

Michelle Moss, UA’s suicide prevention coordinator in the Division of Student Life, explained that AFSP’s primary goals for these walks are to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention and training.

The 2022 walk managed to raise $5,894 for this cause. Moss also highlighted the AFSP’s efforts to provide resources and free training on suicide prevention in schools and communities, which is a valuable resource for the Tuscaloosa community.

The unique aspect of this walk is that it brings together UA students and Tuscaloosa residents, fostering a sense of community involvement. Farmer expressed her excitement about the growing community engagement in this initiative.

The training provided by the AFSP and its partners includes Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) certification, which helps individuals recognize the risks and warning signs of suicide. This training is handled by licensed therapists and other professionals certified in QPR.

The Tuscaloosa walk is more than just an event; it’s an opportunity to let people know that they are not alone and that there is hope. Registration for the walk begins at 5 p.m. on September 24th outside the Student Center, near the fountain.

In addition to the walk, there will be food trucks and community partners providing resources and information. The event will also feature community speakers sharing their personal stories before participants take a walk around the Quad.

To register for this walk or find information about other walks in Alabama, visit the AFSP website.

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