On Saturday, March 10, Wilson will host its inaugural Out of Darkness Campus Walk in support of suicide prevention and awareness.The event is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
“The goal of the walk is to raise awareness and raise money for the AFSP,” junior and Walk Chair Jalen Ciagne said. AFSP has set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention launched their Campus Walks in 2010, and since then, the program has gained momentum at high schools and colleges across the country. Ciagne hopes to do the same at Wilson.
The proceeds raised from the walk will go towards suicide research, as well as back into the Wilson community. “The [American Foundation for Suicide Prevention] is the number one research center in America for suicide and mental health,” Ciagne said. In the community, the money raised will fund educational activities and teacher training about suicide. These new programs will include information about recognizing suicide signs and how to teach prevention.
Ciagne took interest in the topic due to suicide’s pertinence among teenagers and personal experience with mental health. “I’ve dealt with mental health issues for a while and it is actually very common, especially with teenagers. [Suicide and mental health] definitely need to have awareness brought to them.
Ciagne’s efforts surrounding the walk has been noticed by Wilson administration. “I am so proud of junior Jalen Ciagne. Her determination and passion around this issue have been inspiring!” Principal Kimberly Martin said.
For those looking to sign up for or donate to the walk, information is available online at www.afsp.org. Registration will be available the day of at the Wilson stadium starting at 1 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS