March 29, 2021

Registration open for SIU’s ‘Out of the Darkness’ suicide prevention virtual walk

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is working to help address the nation’s suicide epidemic with a virtual awareness and prevention walk on April 24.

The fourth annual Out of the Darkness Campus/Community Walk will also raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The 2021 “Hope Walks Here” event will be virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and third leading cause of death among people ages 10-35.

“Now, more than ever, it is important for us to connect with one another and bring hope to those struggling with or those who have been impacted by suicide,” said Beth Morrison, assistant director of Student Health Services and director of Wellness and Health Promotion Services.

Sign up now

The advantage of the virtual walk is that anyone can participate no matter where they may be.  The opening ceremony is at 10 a.m. SIU students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to sign up and organizers are seeking community and student teams. Participants can sign up individually or as a team with registration at

Prizes available for top fundraisers

In the last three years SIU’s Out of the Darkness Walk has brought in more than $25,000 for AFSP. The fundraising goal for this year is $15,000.

The top fundraising team will win a prize. In addition, participants will have the chance to earn T-shirts, join in an online raffle, and receive honor beads and other swag items for registering. 

SIU suicide prevention efforts

Student Health Services and the Salukis on Your Side campus suicide prevention program, which provides support and services to SIU students and the surrounding community, are organizing the walk. The AFSP national event raises funds for suicide prevention efforts including research to improve interventions, training for clinicians and providers and to advocate for policies to help save lives. AFSP’s mission is saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.

Those who are unable to participate in the event but who still want to support the university’s efforts to prevent suicide and support students can help by donating items for the online auction or serving as walk sponsors.

For more information, email Wellness and Health Promotions Services at