On Sunday April 14, Fairfield students – led by the Fairfield University Psychology Club – took part in an on-campus walk titled “Out of the Darkness” to aid in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s goal of bringing hope to those affected by suicide. 

Following registration at 11:00 a.m, the walk began at 12:00 p.m. and was about one mile long, starting at the Stag Statue and walking around the campus perimeter. 75 participants registered for the event and helped to raise over $5,600 for the cause.

Psychology major Olivia Cataldo ’24 emphasized the importance of the event, stating, “Suicide prevention is a cause that the Psychology Club has been so passionate about spreading awareness for. We love any chance we can get to educate people on the subject and spread positive messages with each other! A great community came together on Sunday for the Out of the Darkness walk, and we helped each other realize that we are not alone!”

Ava Holmes ’24, Co-President of the Psychology Club, added “I had the honor to organize the AFSP Walk this weekend on campus. After months of planning and raising money for suicide prevention, the event was the most beautiful and fulfilling moment of my time at Fairfield thus far. Talking about mental health and suicide is a very difficult endeavor, as these topics are heavily stigmatized.”

Here For You, a local clothing brand in Fairfield, was also present at the event in honor of its mission to spread mental health awareness.  The store’s merchandise was available for purchase at the walk, and the business’ efforts helped raise over $500 for the cause. 

Most fundraising efforts took place on social media, where participants shared why they walk for suicide prevention and made use of the hashtags #HopeWalksHere and #OutoftheDarkness and shared a link to donate. 

The walk was complemented by honor beads of different colors, each signaling different ways participants are personally connected to suicide, in an effort to help individuals identify others who might understand their experience. The theme of hope and healing was also prevalent through many shared messages of hope and remembrance. 

Sophomore Ellena Whipple reflected on these moments and stated “At one point during the walk, I looked around and felt the immense amount of strength within the community. It is so important for all of us to show up for one another through all the good and bad that life brings. We are never truly alone.”

Fairfield offers several confidential and no-cost counseling and psychological services for students who may be looking for extra support, including individual counseling, groups and workshops, and crisis intervention. 

Junior Clare McGuinness encourages students to “Tell your loved ones you love them, give someone a compliment, invite a classmate to dinner…small gestures can mean the most.”

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