By: Rebekah Crozier
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or AFSP, hosted its annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Nov. 8.. This community walk is an important event that is highly anticipated each year. Its purpose is to stand in unity with and offer support to the community to work in suicide prevention.
Because of COVID-19 protocols in the state of Alabama, the Birmingham walk looked different this year. Like in years past, individuals could register and donate online. But this year, people were asked to walk on their own time, instead of meeting in one place on the specified day and walking together.
Lyndsay Clark, University Counselor and Wellness Coordinator here at Samford, stated that, although the Out of the Darkness Community Walk was virtual this year, the walk still inspired excitement and togetherness in the community.
Clark also believes that events like this are important for Samford students to be aware of.
“Suicide is a difficult thing to talk about. More people than you would expect have had at least passive suicidal thoughts,” Clark said.
As the University Counselor here at Samford, Clark is devoted to helping students who struggle with mental health issues like depression, bullying, trauma, abuse and grief..
“My aim in any of the wellness programming I offer or support through Samford’s Counseling & Wellness office is to raise student awareness. With awareness comes a sensitivity and compassion that others in our community need,” Clark said.
Besides suicide prevention, another shared goal of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Samford’s Counseling and Wellness Office is to train people to know how to help and support those in need.
“We are called to work as a body, where unique parts support the others at different times and depending on need. We will all be in need at one time or another. Participating in a cause beyond ourselves — walking to raise money in support of suicide prevention efforts — is one of the most Christian things I believe we can do,” Clark said.
Like always, the AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk was a huge success, even though it was done differently than in past years. People in the Birmingham community came together virtually to donate to the cause and walk in support. Donations are still being accepted on the AFSP website until Dec. 31, and all donations will go toward raising mental health awareness and assisting those in the community who struggle with such issues.