Anderson University to host second suicide prevention walk

For the second year, the Anderson community is coming together to support suicide prevention through Anderson University’s Out of the Darkness Campus Walk on April 6, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Following the opening ceremony at the Anderson University Athletic Campus, the 1.5-mile walk will begin at approximately 11 a.m. The route runs across campus, with accessibility routes available for those who cannot or do not want to walk the full distance.

Onsite registration begins at 9:15 a.m. along with a health and resource fair. Local sponsors include Thrive Wellness Center, Anderson University Student Government Association, Restoring Hope Counseling, 215 Society Street, Anderson Pregnancy Care, Boba Space, Charlie Health, iTrust Wellness Group, Skin’s Hotdogs, Taral Sharma MD PC, El Taco, and Anderson Oconee Behavioral Health Services. Teams from within and outside of the University have also registered to walk.

The walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and its mission for mental health education, research and support. The walk will not only bring awareness to mental health, but also connect people with the message that no one has to face their struggles alone. Participants can walk in memory of loved ones, family and friends who are currently struggling, first responders, military veterans, law enforcement, or for their own mental health journey.

“It was so powerful seeing so many university and community members come together last year to support one another and spread a message of hope,” said Erin Maurer, director of Anderson University Counseling Services. “This year, we look forward to even more people coming out to walk with us. Events like these are an important part of reducing stigma, raising awareness, and letting those impacted by suicide know that they are not alone.”

The walk is free and open to the public. People can pre-register online or register onsite on the day of the event. Fundraising is encouraged but not required. All donations go directly to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

During last year’s inaugural Out of the Darkness walk, more than 280 people participated, including current Anderson University students, faculty and alumni, alongside families and community members. Participants raised approximately $9,000 for AFSP, and more than 30 teams joined the effort. This year, Anderson University’s goal is to raise $12,000 to support the organization and its mission.

“The Out of the Darkness Walk was one of my favorite events at AU while I was there,” said Summerlin Dillingham, recent AU alumni class of 2023 who attended the inaugural walk last spring. “Personally, it allowed me to be open with my mental health struggles and connect with people about our shared experiences. I love this event and will continue to support it for years to come.”

To donate or register for the event, click here.

— Andrew Beckner is executive director of public relations at Anderson University.