Dozens of runners, walkers participate in URI’s Be 5K, advocate for suicide prevention, mental health awareness

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862 |
Be 5K
1. AND THEY’RE OFF: Participants bolt from the starting line at the Be 5K. URI photo by Michael Salerno.

KINGSTON, R.I.- April 8, 2019- The quadrangle at the University of Rhode Island was home to dozens working toward a common goal last week as the Be 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness took place.

The 80 participants gathered as they learned about mental health initiatives on campus and prepared for the start of the race. The walkway of the quad was lined with booths manned by 44 volunteers who offered their Sunday to help educate and inform the community about mental health awareness and suicide prevention at URI.

moment of silence
2. SILENCE: Racers pause for a moment of silence in support of those who’ve lost their lives to suicide and family members and friends who have been affected. URI photo by Michael Salerno.

“Community members who attended the event really felt like they were a part of our campus community,” said Amy Albert, community engagement coordinator for the Center for Career and Experiential Education. “The event really helped get everyone motivated to continue the conversation about mental health awareness and suicide prevention.”

In addition to the walk, participants visited booths hosted by student organizations and the Counseling Center that provided information on campus resources.

The event generated more than $2,500 and all proceeds from the race will be donated to the Heather Fund. In addition, “I Am An Advocate” t-shirts will be sold in the union during the week of April 15. The next Be 5K for Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention will be held in the fall.

The Be 5K is part of a multi-pronged effort by URI to address the topic of mental health. Other initiatives are: JED Campus, a non-profit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide on college campuses, the Campaign to Change Direction, Mental Health First Aid training, collaboration with South County Healthy Body Healthy Minds to achieve zero suicides in Washington County, and Fresh Check Day, a program of the Jordan Porco Foundation.

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.