Salem College students to hold walk to raise awareness of suicide

Salem College students to hold walk to raise awareness of suicide
April 23
00:00 2015

Students, staff and the surrounding community are preparing to bring awareness to suicide and its causes.

The Salem College Out of the Darkness Campus Walk will be held on Saturday, May 2 with registration beginning at 8 a.m. The walk will begin at 601 S. Church St. and is expected to last until noon.

“This is the first time that Salem College has done a walk dedicated to suicide prevention,” said Kimya N. Dennis, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Studies and the faculty organizer of the event. “This is important because mental health has impacted any human who has ever existed. That includes suicide and self-harming behavior.”

So far the school has raised $945 dollars of its $3,000 goal. The funds go toward the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention so that it can invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support survivors of suicide loss.

Dennis said that the group wants to get rid of the shame and secrecy of suicide and mental illness.

The walk has been student-led and organized. Dennis called the organization stage a very good experience that could possibly turn into an annual event. There will be entertainment, food and participants are encouraged to walk as many times as they like. The student center will be open for those who would need to sit inside.

“We want to encourage people to discuss the topics of suicide and self-harming behaviors. People harm themselves for different reasons. Sometimes we find different patterns as to why it tends to occur,” Dennis said. “Overall there can be different issues in why people tend to take their own life.”

Dennis also said that it is a great chance for the group to shine light on mental illness and suicides in ethnic minorities of the community.

“African-Americans and people of the African diaspora in general have a tendency to believe that mental health is not an issue of importance, and that suicide is something that black folk don’t do. The common phrase is that black people don’t commit suicide,” Dennis said.

The faculty member said that is when she reminds those individuals about the suicide of Don Cornelius.

“A lot of people know those who have thought about or attempted suicide. We want to make people more comfortable about the topic, and that includes looking at religion and how a lot of black people feel like being religious means that they can’t care about these topics,” she said. “I tell people ‘Even if you’re praying on it, there are still resources that you need to utilize.’”

For more information about the event, visit

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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