CCU to host annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk to Fight Suicide on March 19
Through the years, the University has raised more than $50,000 for AFSP, according to Chris Donevant-Haines, associate director of CCU’s LiveWell Office and an organizer of the event since its first year on campus.
“It has been our goal from the very first year to try to build a tradition that allows us the opportunity to bring messages of support regarding emotional wellness and to encourage individuals to seek help whenever it might be needed,” said Donevant-Haines. “We’ve made some great strides in destigmatizing these topics in our campus community, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. By continuing to host this event annually, it’s just one way we can keep the dialogue open about this important and often hidden topic.”
The walk route is approximately one mile around campus, with participants returning to Spadoni Park for a short closing ceremony, which will feature raffle drawings and a poetry reading. Participants can enjoy refreshments donated by the CCU Food Crew and speak with representatives from campus organizations, such as Counseling Services, and walk sponsor businesses.
During registration hour, there will be a Memory Wall, a “make your own butterfly” station, and an honor beads station. Honor beads are worn the day of the walk to show personal connections to the cause and help identify others who have shared experiences. Each color represents a different struggle, from loss of a relative or friend to a personal struggle or attempt.
Donevant-Haines encourages all members of the community to participate in the walk. She said: “Even though we hope to reach our fundraising goal, if just one person attends the walk and leaves with greater knowledge on how to help a friend, loved one, or even themselves, then we have done our job.”
The walk is sponsored by the LiveWell Office and Students Helping Others Reach Excellence (SHORE) Peer Educators. Additional sponsors include Lighthouse Behavioral Health Hospital, Docugraphics, CCU Food Crew, and Shoreline Behavioral Health Services’ Horry County CAST Coalition. Campus and community partners involved are CCU’s Counseling Services, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the S.C. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Eta Sigma Gamma health leadership honorary society.
The event is one of several initiatives at CCU that focus on health and wellness. In Fall 2021, LiveWell, along with Counseling Services and Student Health Services, launched TimelyMD, an app for CCU students that offers 24/7 telehealth services, health coaching, and on-demand medical and psychological support services. Counseling Services offers a variety of counseling to students confidentially and free of charge.
The LiveWell Office also promotes QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), a free service available to all students, faculty and staff on Moodle’s training site. QPR offers individuals information on how to identify that someone may be at risk for suicide or other self-harm and how to not only talk about it using supportive language, but also how to help another person access resources.
For more information about the walk or the LiveWell Office, contact Donevant-Haines at 843-349-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.