The campus of Lorain County Community College hosted the Out of Darkness Walk for Suicide Prevention on April 22.
The national event is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), an organization that is dedicated to saving lives and funding research and supporting survivors of suicide loss. The suicide prevention walk seeks to bring awareness to what is the second leading cause of death for people ages 18-35.
For two LCCC students, the issue was personal.
“The cause is one that has affected me on a personal level,” said student Steven Matis, who volunteered during the event. “My ex-girlfriend tried to commit suicide. It was certainly an eye-opener and made me realize the importance of raising awareness. ”
Stephanie Quintero, another LCCC student, had a friend who committed suicide.
“Suicide is something that you don’t think will be committed by anyone that you are close to,” Quintero said. “That is one of the reasons why I have been drawn to this project and feel that the walk is an important event.”
Causes of suicide, like depression and other mental illnesses, are equally important, and it is critical to be supportive of those who suffer from such afflictions, Matis said.
“It is important to be there for them,” Matis said. “They feel that they are alone in the world and it is important to give them a constant reminder that they are cared for.”
It’s key for friends and family members to intervene when their loved one is considering suicide, according to Quintero.
“Work with them to get them thinking of something else,” said Quintero. “Get them to understand how much they will be missed. Help them get through it somehow.”
Raising awareness was one of the event’s primary functions, and it was targeted to the local community, according to Quintero.
“Helping with the event felt like the right thing to,” said Quintero. “The walk gives people a way to reach out and find help. It is a great event to be a part of.”
For both students, it was important to be supportive of the loved ones who have committed suicide, and suicide prevention walk provided them that opportunity.
“We really wanted to be an outlet for the family and friends of people that have committed suicide and I feel like we have done that,” said Quintero.