In 2012, one person in the United States died by suicide every 12.9 minutes. In college terms, that means in the span of just one 50-minute class, at least three people in this country took their own lives. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students.
On March 7, University of Houston students will have a chance to stand up to those statistics and shine a light on suicide and mental illness at the annual Out of the Darkness Walk.
The UH Cullen College of Engineering’s PROMES program sponsors the event in collaboration with AFSP. This will be the sixth year for the walk to take place on the UH campus. The event is a short, 3-mile walk around campus with huge impacts. Money raised by participants directly helps AFSP perform vital 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.
Kathy Zerda sits on the Board of Directors for the Houston AFSP chapter. She also served as PROMES Director for several years before her retirement last summer.
“I’m so excited to offer students the opportunity to attend the walk and expand their knowledge about suicide,” Zerda said. “Statistics show that depression and suicidal thoughts are especially concentrated on college campuses, and I want our students to know about the resources available to them and their community. If we can remove the stigma associated with mental illness through walks like these and the information they provide, my hope is that we can drastically reduce the number of our loved ones who contemplate or complete suicide.”
To register for the walk or donate, click here.