Marywood hosts “Out of the Darkness” suicide prevention walk


Photo credit/ Carter Cerretani

The attendees for the Out of the Darkness Walk for Suicide Prevention.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death, and the second leading cause for people ages 15-24. “Out of the Darkness” is a fundraising series by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), one of their most popular.

To spread awareness to the severity of suicide and take the steps to prevent it, Bianca Gifford, reading education major, organized the walk. Over 150 walks have been planned nationwide from March up to the end of June, with more likely on the way.

Gifford became involved with the organization after her father passed away from suicide in 2015, and has been hosting the walks at Marywood since last year.

“I’ve just been trying to carry on his legacy as much as I can,” said Gifford.

Throughout the day, raffles and T-shirt sales were held, along with donations for the AFSP.

Gifford is among several who are involved with the walk, including psychology major Rebecca Zayle, who joined the walk as a freshman and has worked her way up to the committee.

“I feel like this has been going on for a while, but I’m only a junior, so I’ve only been here for two of them because of COVID,” said Zayle.

Zayle also adds that in addition to the walk, on April 23 a Mental Health Awareness Game was held, where there was a 50/50 ticket raffle as well as shirt sales.

The walk was on April 24, and started behind the Learning Commons in the Art Field, and went around from the Center of Athletics and Wellness to Adams Ave. There were many in attendance– students, parents, and locals in the area.

Anyone who is in crisis and contemplating suicide can call 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.

You are not alone.

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