Opinion | Michael Urch
Bethel students host first Walk for Suicide Awareness and Prevention
From left, Andi Tauer, Paige Thielen, Sarah Boadwine, Anna Dahlgren and Caroline Held head up the committe behind the "Out of the Darkness Walk," which aims to help the community understand depression and suicide. | Photo for The Clarion by Amanda Ahlm
Suicide is a rising problem and is the second leading cause of death for college students. In the U.S. alone, a person dies from suicide every 13.7 minutes. There are many misunderstandings and misconceptions about suicide, and a group of Bethel students has planned a suicide awareness and prevention walk to raise money and increase awareness.
Paige Thielen, Caroline Held, Andi Tauer, Anna Dahlgren and Sarah Boadwine from Arden Village form the committee behind this event, and 200 people have already signed up to attend the walk. “[This event will] show the community that it’s okay to struggle with this stuff,” Thielen said.
Known as an “Out of the Darkness Walk,” this campus walk is focused on helping those in and around the Bethel community understand and battle suicide, put an end to misconceptions and help people realize that depression is a treatable condition.
“We want people to know that there is hope for people who are feeling hopeless,” Sophomore Caroline Held said.
The event is open to the public. It will have two speakers, food, prayer/memorial time, a silent auction and the walk itself. Registration starts at 9 a.m. on Dec. 14, with the event beginning at 10 a.m. T-shirts ($15) are also for sale for the event.
“Depression affects more people than you might think. This is something that should be important to Bethel,” Held said.
For Thielen, this event is close to home, as she lost a brother to suicide her senior year of high school and has also struggled with depression herself. These experiences have given her a passion to help others who are going through difficult things.
“God had really given me that situation to help me help others,” Thielen said.
All proceeds raised by the event will be donated to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The AFSP uses the money to fund research to test new approaches to treatment, intervention and prevention as well as illuminating the impact of suicide on family members, committees and society.
“Joining together to create awareness about suicide is important,” Central Division Director of the AFSP Janie Hurtado Aeppli said. “There is a stigma about it.”
Resources, such as the AFSP website www.afsp.org. are available to help combat this health issue. There is also the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, a 24/7 service that can provide support, information,and local resources: 800-273-TALK (8255). `
To sign up for the event, visit their website (listed below) or feel free to walk into the event. Everyone is welcome, and as posted on the group Facebook page, “WE WANT YOU TO COME."