May 25, 2019  

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USM School of Psychology Hosting “Out of the Darkness” Suicide Awareness Campus Walk April 13

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Members of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) family and local residents will step forward April 13 in a show of love and remembrance for those who have taken their own life, or in support of individuals suffering with mental illness or addiction, at the “Out of the Darkness” walk to be held at the Thad Cochran 5K Trail on the Hattiesburg campus. Supported by the USM School of Psychology, the event begins with on-site registration at 8 a.m.; the walk starts at 9 a.m. 

This event will be hosted by the USM School of Psychology, with USM students and faculty members from many different organizations within the school participating in organizing the walk. Proceeds go to support the efforts of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which seeks to reduce annual suicide rates 20 percent by 2025.

Nicole Smith, a USM clinical psychology graduate student from St. Louis, Missouri who serves as planning chair for the walk, said approximately 150 people from USM and the Hattiesburg community came together last year to raised more than $6,000 in donations for suicide awareness and prevention.

Smith hopes this year's walk will include even more participants and an increase in money raised to support the work of the AFSP.

“This is a family-friendly event geared toward spreading awareness about the many lives lost to suicide, and giving community members who have experienced the loss of a loved one an opportunity to come together and support one another,” Smith said.

Local businesses are also pitching in to support the event, including through a raffle for gift cards from T-Bone Records, while Insomnia Cookies will be donating 300 cookies for participants. Event organizers welcome commitments of support from other businesses and organizations leading up to the event. 

Visit www.afsp.org/usm to register to participate in the walk. For more information, including to support the walk as a sponsor, contact Nicole Smith nicole.s.smith@usm.edu or Buffy Brooks at meamorja@yahoo.com.