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FGCU’s first “Out of the Darkness” campus walk


More than 100 Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles will be shedding a light on depression and suicide prevention Sunday, March 15 at FGCU’s first “Out of the Darkness” campus walk. This event is hosted by Counseling and Psychological Services and its employees, including Kelly Russo, a CAPS psychologist.
“Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among U.S. college students,” Russo said. “A life is lost to suicide every 14 minutes in the United States. Through this event, the main goal is to show as much support as possible for the family and friends of the more than 38,000 U.S. Americans who die by suicide and the 20 million people in the U.S. who suffer from depression each year.”
All proceeds from the event will go to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. AFSP has six categories of research: neurobiological, psychosocial, genetic, treatment, community and loss survivors. It is also working to get suicide and depression educational programs implemented in school districts across Florida.
“Support of this walk will not only help raise funds for AFSP’s suicide prevention research, educational and advocacy programs, but will also erase the stigma surrounding suicide, and encourage those who are suffering from mental illness to get help,” Russo said.
Registration is available online at and will close Friday, March 13. There are three different walking options which include individual, team or virtual. The convenient option of walking virtually allows participants to register and raise funds for the cause while not physically attending the event. Some of the top fundraising teams include Delta Delta Delta, Gulf Coast Mental Health Counselors and Team Brunner (CAPS.) At the event, registration will begin at 6 p.m. in the Student Plaza, and the walk will commence at 7 p.m.
Molly Stanich, an FGCU Tri Delta, has a connection to this event.
“I have recently lost someone to suicide,” Stanich said. “This is a great opportunity to not only raise funds for a great cause but to show support and give back as well.”
Sponsors of the walk include Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Park Royal Hospital, Gulf Coast Mental Health Center, Monarch Therapy, Ada’s Natural Market, Olive Garden Italian Restaurant and Target. Support for this cause does not end at the walk. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be hosting Florida State Capitol Days for the advocacy of Suicide Prevention in Tallahassee on March 18 and 19. Check out the event on the FGCU Out of the Darkness Campus Walk Facebook page and be sure to register by Friday, March 13.

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