By Sabrina Betterly
On April 25, the KU chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI KU) will be hosting their seventh annual Out of the Darkness walk for suicide prevention. NAMI KU, partnered with Penn State Berks and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), will start the event at 2:30 p.m. via Zoom.
Registration is required in advance to participate in the walk, available on the AFSP website.
The goal of NAMI KU is to promote mental illness awareness on campus and in the KU community, according to their Engage page.
Dr. Patricia Brenner, the primary advisor for NAMI KU and an instructor of counselor education and student affairs, said she anticipates the event doing even better than last year, when they raised over $10,000 and had over 70 people join the zoom ceremony.
However, she said last year was necessarily different from previous years, as they focused more on presenting information about supporting people with mental health issues or the those who lost a loved one to suicide with a PowerPoint presentation during the ceremony.
This year she expects more participation as they partnered with Penn State Berks and there is an additional three weeks before the walk. The group already heightened their donation goal from $5,000 to $10,000.
“A lot more students want to be involved this year,” Brenner said. “They are seeing the need for [mental health] education and want to personally be so much more involved and supportive to those in need. The pandemic seems to be a motivating factor in student involvement.”
There will not be any in-person events, but NAMI KU will set up reminders around campus the week of the walk and may potentially set up posters for a suggested route that students can walk for themselves.