Walk for Hope April 20 to raise awareness for campus suicide prevention

Marshall University’s Department of Social Work will host the Walk for Hope: Campus Suicide Prevention and Education event from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, April 20, on the university’s Memorial Student Center plaza on the Huntington campus.

Paula Rymer, a faculty member in the Master of Social Work program, said Walk for Hope originated a few years ago with a local walk she organized in eastern Kentucky to promote education and awareness in the areas of suicide and mental health.

"The second highest rate of suicides happens in the 14 to 24 year old age group. We have found that addressing mental health issues for students on campus increases retention rates and lowers alcohol and drug use on campus," Rymer said.

Rymer said our society has to promote the discussion about mental health and wellness because too many young adults are lost to suicide every day.

"We are hoping for the reduction of stigma and reduction in the fear of asking for help," Rymer said. "Stigma is such a hindrance for people so it is very important for a campus prevention walk to take place at Marshall University."

The Walk for Hope will kick off at 6 p.m. with good music, positive energy and personal testimonials from individuals in the community who have been affected by suicide. Rymer said the event is free and open to the public. The Huntington community is encouraged to attend.

To learn more about Marshall’s Walk for Hope, contact Rymer at rymer13@marshall.edu or call 304-696-5770. For more information on activities sp