Students walk Out of the Darkness

The CNU community marched across campus for suicide prevention

On the Sunday morning of April 7, 280 registered CNU students and supporters from the community embarked on a walk around campus in support of mental health awareness at CNU’s first campus-specific Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk.

Participants marched across CNU grounds in solidarity against suicide, waving signs and flags in support of the cause. Some even wore t-shirts bearing the names of loved ones who died by suicide.

The walk was organized by CNU’s brand new chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the national organization behind the walks, which are held across the country in countless different cities and college campuses every year.

As a result of fundraising by various teams, individuals and organizations in support of the event, over $13,000 was raised to benefit AFSP.

The goal of the event is to bring attention to mental health and the issue of suicide, and to fundraise to benefit mental health outreach avenues such as education, support groups and awareness initiatives.

The money raised in support of the cause will go to support mental health training for resident assistants at CNU, as well as future Out of the Darkness Walks and other AFSP events that will bring more awareness about mental health to campus.

Out of the Darkness Walks are put on in Newport News every year, which many CNU

 students attend with their friends and members of organizations they are a part of.

This event was the first walk organized on CNU’s campus, communicating to the community that CNU cares about the mental health of its students.

Montana Coward, a sophomore, was one of the organizers of the event who became involved with other interested students on the Women’s Soccer team.

Before the walk began, Coward introduced the speakers who shared their stories in relation to the cause and expressed the importance of the event to the crowd.

“Together, we are creating a culture that is smart about mental health,” she said. “This doesn’t happen overnight. More people are talking about mental health, and more people are talking about suicide prevention. Many of us here know firsthand the impact of suicide, and your presence here today honors the memory of those we’ve lost.”

Several speakers discussed their personal experiences with suicide. Chrissy Lowery, a senior, lost her cousin Jake Lowery in 2016 and later participated in Out of the Darkness walks with her family to begin to heal from the loss. In the 2018-2019 school year, she needed to find a nonprofit to work with for her capstone project for her Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship minor, and when she heard CNU had a chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, she became involved with the Out of the Darkness walk and eventually became the club’s sponsorship chair. “In my senior year, it [was] a dream come true to be able to share an Out of the Darkness walk with my fellow Captains on our own campus.”

CNU’s chapter of AFSP collaborated closely with CNU administration and the Office of Counseling Services, which was present at the walk for anyone who needed it. Dr. Brittney Tutena, a staff therapist, told students about the individual counseling services available for students, group counseling and psychiatric services in which students can obtain medication if needed.

During the walk, students made two loops through the campus, migrating from the Pomoco stadium past dorm buildings and the library all the way to the Great Lawn, passing a sign that read, “you matter.”

Many different teams and organizations walked together, such as CNU Lacrosse, Men’s and Women’s Soccer and several of CNU’s fraternities and sororities.

Several walkers brought dogs, which added to the environment of happiness and hope that the event exuded.

As students physically walked alongside one another during CNU’s first Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention, they solidified the idea that as a campus, CNU would always walk alongside Captains in need and help guide them towards finding the light.

Out of the Darkness Walks are put on in Newport News every year, which many CNU students attend with their friends and members of organizations they are a part of.

This event was the first walk organized on CNU’s campus, communicating to the community that CNU cares about the mental health of its students.

Montana Coward, a sophomore, was one of the organizers of the event who became involved with other interested students on the Women’s Soccer team.

Before the walk began, Coward introduced the speakers who shared their stories in relation to the cause and expressed the importance of the event to the crowd.

“Together, we are creating a culture that is smart about mental health,” Coward said. “This doesn’t happen overnight. More people are talking about mental health, and more people are talking about suicide prevention. Many of us here know firsthand the impact of suicide, and your presence here today honors the memory of those we’ve lost.”

Several speakers discussed their personal experiences with suicide.

Chrissy Lowery, a senior, lost her cousin Jake Lowery in 2016 and later participated in Out of the Darkness walks with her family to begin to heal from the loss. In the 2018-2019 school year, she needed to find a nonprofit to work with for her capstone project for her Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship minor, and when she heard CNU had a chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, she became involved with the Out of the Darkness walk and eventually became the club’s sponsorship chair.

“In my senior year, it [was] a dream come true to be able to share an Out of the Darkness walk with my fellow Captains on our own campus,” she said.

CNU’s chapter of AFSP collaborated closely with CNU administration and the Office of Counseling Services, which was present at the walk for anyone who needed it. Dr. Brittney Tutena, a staff therapist, told students about the individual counseling services available for students, group counseling and psychiatric services in which students can obtain medication if needed.

During the walk, students made two loops through the campus, migrating from the Pomoco stadium past dorm buildings and the library all the way to the Great Lawn, passing a sign that read “You matter.”

Many different teams and organizations walked together, such as CNU Lacrosse, Men’s and Women’s Soccer and several of CNU’s fraternities and sororities.

Several walkers brought dogs, which added to the environment of happiness and hope that the event exuded.

Students and other community participants physically walked alongside one another during CNU’s first Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention. They also made the promise that as a campus, CNU would walk alongside Captains in need and help guide them towards finding the light.

~Anna Dorl, Lifestyle Editor~



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