AFSP: Out of the Darkness

By Alexis Rabsatt

Suicide is the second leading cause of death on U.S. college campuses. The first one? Accidents, most of which, however, are believed to be suicide-related. “One in every four college students dies by suicide,” said Jennifer Bradley, Director of the AUM Counseling Center and president of the Alabama Counseling Association.

The AUM Counseling Center partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to provide the River Region’s Out of the Darkness community walk on Nov. 14. The goal of the event was to raise money and awareness to support the fight against suicide. “Fortunately, we have not had a completed suicide at AUM; however, it is a consistent issue in the Counseling Center due to depression” Bradley said.

Bradley’s interest in suicide prevention began when she was working at Children’s Hospital. Bradley had a job at the Amelia Center, which is a grief-counseling center for parents who have lost children, and vice versa. Many of the cases were death by suicide; this is when Bradley began to see the real effects of suicide, including guilt and helplessness of the loved ones left behind. “This is a necessary topic that no one talks about unless it happens to them,” Bradley says.

Volunteers from the School of Nursing were present at the walk to ensure everyone’s safety. “If we didn’t have these students here, we wouldn’t have been able to do this on our own,” Bradley said.

Next year, another Out of the Darkness walk will be held and may feature friendly competition amongst colleges in the area to increase awareness and support.

If students are struggling with the issue of depression, Bradley urges them to seek help. Counselors are also there for those who struggle with someone in their life who is suicidal and realize that the other side needs support as well. Counselors are available to speak to any groups, classes or individuals dealing with mental health. Bradley says they are free to serve however needed.

For more information, the AUM Counseling Center can be reached at 334-244-3469, and is located in Taylor Center 319. To stay updated with the Center’s events, follow its Facebook page at AUM Counseling Center.