Suicide claims the lives of more than one million people per year, so two Ferris students decided to raise awareness to stop this killer.
Ferris students gathered at the Ewigleben Sports Complex for a three-hour walk to raise awareness about suicide last Saturday.
Walk for Life was founded by Ferris junior criminal justice major Shannon Fick and her friend Ferris student Kelsey Sofia.
“[Walk For Life was designed] to help inform students about suicide and suicide prevention and to show people who have dealt with suicide or even thought about it that they are not alone,” Fick said.
Someone dies every 13.7 minutes from suicide, according to Mark VanLent, a Ferris counselor and adviser for Active Minds, a Ferris RSO.
VanLent said suicide claims more than 38,000 lives each year in the United States.
Walk for Life took place on March 29. Students were able to stop at different stations to learn more about the cause.
In the middle of the track, there were large sheets of paper on which participants could write inspirational messages, quotes, sign their names or draw pictures.
The event also had games, food, speakers and live music at no cost to participants.
“Suicide is not a light topic and isn’t something people openly talk about on a daily basis,” Fick said. “This event helps people learn about the topic, talk about it and hear others’ stories in a safe environment.”
Walk for Life is sponsored by Active Minds.
Active Minds is a RSO on campus designed to empower students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking.
According to VanLent, Active Minds strives to increase students’ awareness of mental health issues, provide information and resources regarding mental health and mental illness, and encourage students to seek help as soon as it is needed.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students,” VanLent said. “There are biological and psychological treatments that can help address the underlying health issues that put people at risk for suicide. One of the best ways to prevent suicide is by understanding and treating these issues.”
An event like the Walk for Life not only raises awareness about depression and suicide; it also provides comfort and assistance to those personally connected to these issues.
“Even though it is a very heavy and sad subject,” Fick said, “we try and put a focus on education and support to bring a positive and uplifting spin on the event.”