Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Walk for Hope to Shine Light on Suicide Prevention

Walk+For+Hope+Flyer%0A%0ACourtesy+of+Phi+Alpha
Walk For Hope Flyer Courtesy of Phi Alpha

The annual Suicide Prevention Walk serves as a reminder that community members are not alone in their most stressful times, said the president of Phi Alpha Honor Society: Sigma MU, Marshall’s social work honors society.

“With it being finals time, we see stress, anxiety and depression increase,” Katie Maynard said, “and we hope to prevent furthering those emotions and supporting individuals who believe suicide is their only relief.”

“We want to show Marshall’s campus and community that they are not alone, and there are people and organizations for support,” she added.

Free and open to all, the seventh annual Walk for Hope will kick off at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 22, at the Memorial Student Center Plaza.

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Along with the walk, the event will feature personal testimonies and a candlelight ceremony for victims of suicide.

“Like many, I have friends and family members who have mental health problems, completed self-harm, attempted suicide and some completed suicide,” Maynard said. “We hope to give people the opportunity to find additional support whether they are a survivor or a loved one who has experienced loss due to suicide.”

Maynard said Phi Alpha is excited to have a live performance by Flip Lighters Band and to welcome a massage therapist to the event this year.

Professor Paula Rymer, the founder of the event, said she created the Walk for Hope to give attendees the opportunity to talk about suicide comfortably. 

“The first year, we had a really good group that said, ‘Yeah, let’s do something that connects university and community and that can make a difference,’” she said.

Rymer said there will be question, persuade and refer trainers present at the event to help students navigate difficult conversations, including mental health crises.

The event hosts several vendors who provide resources to attendees, as well. This year, Veterans Affairs will table and provide gun locks for students who want them, Rymer said.

“With concealed carry that’s going to happen in July, a lot of students are very anxious about it,” Rymer said, “and so we’re trying to promote safety for those who bring a firearm to school.” 

Overall, Rymer said she hopes the event will make an impact, even if it’s just on one student.

“Maybe we can make a difference and save a life,” she said. “Maybe there’s somebody that’s really struggling on campus that, with the visibility of this walk, they’ll stay one more day.”

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