Walk aims to deter suicidal students

Chelsea Cassudakis

A suicide prevention walk, hosted by the College of Education, Health and Human Services, will happen tomorrow in accordance with last week being National Suicide Prevention Week.

The event is called Gabe’s Walk for Suicide Prevention, after Gabe Baumann, a suicide victim. The entire walk is dedicated to Gabe and his family. It will be held on campus and will start at 10 a.m outside White Hall.

Jason McGlothlin, co-director of Gabe’s Walk for Suicide Prevention and a personal friend of the Baumann family, explained that Gabe’s Walk was the first of what he hopes will be an annual event put on by the college.

Suicide is more common on college campuses than people think, McGlothlin said. It’s the third-leading cause of death in people ages 15-24, he said.

“This event is an effort to get more of this idea of suicide prevention and awareness in folks’ minds,” McGlothlin said. “Folks will be able to treat it properly or know where to find the appropriate resources.”

The Counseling and Human Development Center, located in the College of Education, sees about 1,000 students per year for various reasons. The number of suicidal students has gone up in the past five years, McGlothlin said.

“Even over the past five or six years we’ve seen an increase in the severity of mental health and the increase in suicidal thoughts in clients,” he said. “Even since last year, there are more suicidal clients that walk through the door.”

Kristin Bruns, co-director of Gabe’s Walk and graduate student in the Counseling and Human Development Services program, explained that the proceeds from the walk will be split between the Counseling and Human Development Center and the Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

“It’s an opportunity for the students to support something on campus, as well as an opportunity for the counseling center and Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition to come interact with the students,” Bruns said. “Everyone comes together for this common cause.”

By building the awareness, McGlothlin said, students who are suicidal will realize that they are not alone in their hardship. He said the event can help them realize there are things they can do and places they can go to get help.

“In my mind the money is kind of a secondary thing,” McGlothlin said. “It would be a benefit to the community and the students if they got behind a meaningful cause to help build that awareness.”

All students are welcome to come to the Gabe’s Walk for Suicide Prevention. The walk starts outside of White Hall and ends near the May 4 Memorial. The registration fee is $20.

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