‘Walk for Hope’ to raise awareness for campus suicide prevention

Marshall University’s Department of Social Work will host the 2nd annual "Walk for Hope: Campus Suicide Prevention and Education" event from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 12, on the university’s Memorial Student Center plaza on the Huntington campus.

Paula Rymer, a faculty member in the 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 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 talking about mental health and wellness because we lose too many young adults 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 and will host guest speakers, musicians and luminaries in honor of those who have been lost. The Huntington community is encouraged to attend.

To learn more about Marshall’s Walk for Hope, contact Rymer at rymer13@marshall.edu or by calling 304-696-5770. For more information on activities sponsored by the Department of Social Work and Phi Alpha Sigma Mu, visit www.marshall.edu/social-work.