URI to host 5th annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk, Oct. 20

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Goal is to raise funds, awareness to create world without suicide

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 15, 2013 – Hundreds of University of Rhode Island community members will walk to raise awareness and money for suicide prevention this month on the Kingston campus.

The University will participate in its fifth Out of the Darkness Community Walk, Sunday, Oct. 20 from 3 to 6 p.m. The program will begin with activities outside the URI Memorial Union, 50 Lower College Road.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (which is the leading national not-for-profit devoted to understanding and preventing suicide through education, research, and advocacy) has held such walks around the country for years and is again working with URI’s Feinstein Civic Engagement Program.

“Suicide prevention and awareness is now more important than ever,” said Sarah G. Miller, coordinator of URI’s Feinstein Civic Engagement Program. “With the awareness that suicide has for years had a terrible impact on college populations, we here at URI are proud to do our part to address this public health crisis. National reports have also shown that our returning service men and women are particularly vulnerable.”

Miller said that while suicide is a serious issue, this year’s program will feature activities before the walk to get participants in a positive frame of mind. “We want our students to know that they are going to have a big impact on this issue and on mental health in general. First, they are going to be a major voice on the campus, letting the depressed, despondent, and suicidal know that they can get help. Second, they will be raising money for the national foundation, and most of that money, in turn, will directly benefit our Counseling Center.”

The Out of the Darkness Community Walks are 3- to 5-mile walks and take place in more than 250 communities across the country this year, with the proceeds benefitting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. By walking in the Out of the Darkness Community Walks, the URI community joins thousands of other walkers nationwide to raise money for the foundation’s research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, increase national awareness about depression and suicide, and provide support for survivors of suicide loss. In deciding to walk, URI participants are helping to make suicide prevention a national priority. URI hopes to raise $8,000 through this year’s walk.

To register for the URI event or to donate, go to: Out of the Darkness. Online registration closes Friday, Oct. 18, at noon. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk during check-in time. Donations are accepted until December 31, 2013.

Rachel Donilon, a May 2013 graduate of the University of Rhode Island and part-time writer for Marketing and Communications, wrote this release.