New Date: SMHS students and faculty host suicide awareness walk meeting on Feb. 6

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Yet suicide can be prevented. To that end, volunteers from the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) and throughout Grand Forks, N.D., are joining the quarter of a million people who are walking in towns across the United States to draw attention to the fight for suicide prevention.

The First Annual UND Out of the Darkness Campus Walk, hosted by UND and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), will be held at the SMHS on Sunday, April 7, 2019. This walk supports AFSP education and support programs and the organization’s goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide in the U.S. 20 percent by the year 2025.

Anyone interested in volunteering and/or supporting the UND Out of the Darkness Campus Walk can attend the information session to be held on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, from 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m. in SMHS Room W201.

“Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Noelle Torrance, second-year medical student at the SMHS and the event’s Walk Chair. Noelle is working with Heather Kaluzniak, Matt Gerenz (also second year medical students) and Michelle Montgomery, wellness advocate at the School, to organize the event.

The UND Out of the Darkness Campus Walk is one of more than 550 Out of the Darkness Overnight, Community, and Campus Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts.