Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA student organization holds walk to raise suicide prevention awareness

CW / Natalie Teat
Participants during the Out of Darkness Walk hosted by Tide Against Suicide on Sept. 24 at The University of Alabama.

Students Tide Against Suicide held its annual Out of the Darkness Walk on campus to raise awareness of suicide on Sunday evening. Students, staff and members of the community gathered at the Student Center Plaza to support each other and advocate for suicide prevention. 

This came after a series of initiatives and events by the organization for Suicide Awareness Week.

Students Tide Against Suicide and community members organized the walk, which raised $9,228 for education and prevention. The funds generated will benefit the initiatives of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, according to Michelle Moss, the Tuscaloosa walk chair.

The walk included speeches from those whose lives have been affected by suicide, such as Bess Weltin, the secretary of the Alabama chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. After attempting suicide in 2015, Weltin spent time in a crisis center, where she formed a support group through NAMI to help others.

“There’s always help out there. You just have to reach for it,” she said. 

Amber Henderson, a member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s board of directors, also spoke at the event. 

“Together we are saving lives, and bringing hope to those affected by suicide,” Henderson said. 

The University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs was also in attendance in honor of Hunter Whitley, a former UA student and United States Marine who died by suicide in 2022. 

Amanda Milam, the clinic manager for the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, spoke on the impact of the walk.

“It’s bringing the community together to show individuals that we’re here for one another and those that are struggling,” Milam said.

Cooper Lawton, a sophomore majoring in economics and math and the president of Students Tide Against Suicide, said he was happy about the event’s outcome, adding that there were close to 500 people in attendance. 

“It was a really great come-together moment for the community,” Lawton said. 

The walk consisted of one lap around the Quad and ended back at the Student Center Plaza with a closing ceremony to honor those who have died by suicide and those who currently struggle with mental illnesses. 

Lydia Bradley, a freshman majoring in psychology, said she attended to show awareness for suicide. Her father, a first responder, took his own life in 2020. She said there’s a strong stigma toward first responders and suicide. 

“I’m here to say there’s nothing to be ashamed [of] about mental health,” Bradley said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed [of] about suicide.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling, please call 205-348-5454 to speak with the University of Alabama Police Department and ask for the on-call counselor immediately. Alternatively, call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

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