RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College’s fourth annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk, held for suicide prevention and awareness, will be hosted as a virtual event this year in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
What follows is an electronic statement received from Rio’s Assistant Professor of Social Work Dr. Courtney Ruggles:
…I want to inform you the University of Rio Grande’s fourth annual Darkness Campus Walk scheduled for April 18th has changed to a VIRTUAL event! We are hosting the event on Facebook (link here: https://www.facebook.com/events/455714181786064/). In such uncertain times, it is necessary for us to continue spreading the message of suicide prevention and awareness. Though we cannot be together physically like the years before, this year we hope to remain connected while practicing social distancing and supporting an amazing cause.
As one of the newest board members of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Ohio Chapter, I want to tell you 50% of the funds raised stay in the Ohio chapter to provide education and resources to schools and communities in Ohio and the other half of donations goes to the national AFSP organization to further research and create evidence-based programs to combat suicide.
Ohio’s suicide rate is higher than the national average for ages 15 through 44 (United Health Foundation, 2020). An Ohio State University study found higher rates of suicide in rural areas, areas prone to higher rates of underemployment, poverty, and less resources (Crane, 2019). Areas that resemble locations the University of Rio Grande serves. Hence the importance of continuing this walk, even in virtual spirit.
I and the URG Out of the Darkness Campus Walk Committee invite you to join us on April 18th for the virtual walk! We will be going live and have different guests, share coping skills, and stories of survival and support. If you’d like to participate in any capacity, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can donate, there is a link on the Facebook event page to allow you to do so.