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Weber State to hold campus walk for suicide prevention

By Sonja Carlson And Andreas Rivera, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Mar 15, 2016

Suicide was the leading cause of death in 2014 for Utahns ages 18 to 24, according to the Utah Department of Health

And for Weber State University student Zack Gibson, that statistic hits home. 

According to a Weber State press release, Gibson lost a close family friend to suicide. Since then, he became involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). 

Now, he’s inspired to make an impact on the WSU community.

“I believe it is our duty as members of a college community to continue to raise awareness for suicide prevention and support people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts,” he said in the release.

Gibson is a member of the WSU Honors Program and Honors Student Advisory Board, which is sponsoring an Out of the Darkness Campus Walk with the AFSP from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 19, according to the release. 

One of the presenters at the event will be Project UnBreakable, a non-profit organization that raises awareness specifically of suicide among law enforcement, veterans and active military.

Project UnBreakable co-founder Kimberly Lee is a military veteran and former police officer who has struggled with mental health conditions. Suicide among law enforcement and the military a prevalent and rising issue, she said. 

The event will include breakfast, suicide prevention resources, speakers and a 1-mile walk. Registration opens at 8 a.m. with the walk beginning at 9:30 a.m. Participants are encouraged to pre-register online, where there are options to walk, volunteer or donate. 

Those who participate in the walk can pledge to raise any amount, but a T-shirt will be given to those who raise $100 or more, according to the release. Walk organizers are hoping to raise at least $5,000. 

“When a suicide occurs, it can really devastate families, schools and entire communities,” Gibson said. “This issue is especially prevalent in teenagers and young adults.”

All proceeds from the event will be used to support AFSP research, advocacy, education and survivor programs. 

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