people walking on a sidewalk

April 08, 2022

SIU hosting Hope Walks Here suicide prevention walk

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but Southern Illinois University Carbondale is taking action to address the suicide epidemic by sponsoring the fifth annual Hope Walks Here Out of the Darkness Campus/Community Walk.

The event, set for 5 p.m. April 23, will raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Registration and check-in is at 4:30 p.m., and the walk begins at the front entrance of the Student Center.

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

“Suicide touches one in five American families,” said Shelly Ridgeway, interim director of Wellness and Health Promotion Services for SIU’s Student Health Services. “We hope that by walking, we can draw attention to this issue and keep families from experiencing this loss while also raising money for suicide prevention initiatives. Our goal, ultimately, is to save lives and bring hope to people who have been affected by suicide.”

Sign up now

Register for the walk at Organizers welcome individuals or community/SIU teams. Online registration closes at noon April 22, but people can still sign up in person at the event until it begins. Donations will be accepted until June 30.

Since the walks began on the SIU campus, they have brought in more than $30,000 for the AFSP.  This year’s goal is $10,000. The team collecting the most donations will earn a prize.

SIU strives to prevent suicide

SIU’s Student Health Services and Salukis on Your Side campus suicide prevention program, which provides support and services to SIU students and the surrounding community, are organizing the walk. Funds raised by the AFSP national event support suicide prevention efforts, including research to enhance intervention, training for clinicians and providers, and advocacy for policies to help save lives. For more information, contact Ridgeway at or 618-536-4441.