Walking “Out of the Darkness” to raise suicide awareness at DMACC

“Out of the Darkness” suicide awareness event at DMACC. Photo by Beth Lee

DMACC hosted the “Out of the Darkness” community walk to raise suicide awareness for the tenth year in a row on Sunday, Sept. 17.

“We are hoping for there to be 1500 people here this year,” said walk organizer Stephanie McAdam.

The Memorial Wall has many pictures and words written in respect for those who died. Sponsors gathered around the sidewalks and handed out informational packets and gifts.

The event was held in hopes to raise money for future events and support groups.

“The goal is $75,000 and when we closed registration on Friday we had around $44,000,” said McAdam.

On Nov. 18 there will be a free convention for the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. It will be held at Des Moines University Student Education Center from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website, Iowa’s rate of suicide is 433 per year and a death by suicide occurs in Iowa just about every 20 hours.

Suicide is not the result of a singular cause; however, people with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety have an increased risk for suicide.

Counselor Landi Smith states that, “College students are at risk because 1 in 4 people experience mental illness.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website also states that suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 15-34.

DMACC offers counseling for both mental health issues and grief counseling for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Smith gives some advice on the subject: “Take care of yourselves. Speak openly about suicide and mental health issues to fight stigma. Pay attention to your friends and family members and if you notice warning sings, ask them how they are doing,” she said.

Smith will be presenting “Talk Saves Lives” for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Nov. 16, 1-2 p.m. in Building 1.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK

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