LAKELAND, FL - Nearly 100 Florida Southern College student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff participated in the annual "Out of the Darkness" Community Walk around Lake Hollingsworth on Saturday to benefit the Central Florida chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Several Moccasin athletic teams were on hand early to help set up the event, while others walked with more than 600 others to show their support in the fight against suicide, and the Mocs also helped AFSP volunteers clean up after the event.
Florida Southern's participation was spearheaded by its Student-Athlete Advisory Council, which is partnering with the AFSP this year to help raise awareness and donations in the fight to end suicide. This year's walk raised more than $25,000 to help the AFSP in its mission, and Florida Southern will hold several Suicide Awareness events in the spring semester to help benefit the AFSP.
"I believe its extremely important that people understand just how crucial mental health issues are," said Mallary Meyer, a junior on the women's swimming team. "It's something that affects everyone, and having our student-athletes here today not only shows that we care about the issue, but helps break the stigma that student-athletes are free from facing these demons. The AFSP does incredible work in raising awareness and providing resources for those struggling with mental health issues. It's very inspiring - and I am very thankful for their work."
Florida Southern College Athletics and its Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) are proud to partner with the AFSP in a year-long initiative to raise awareness and donations in the fight to stop suicide.
Our student-athletes, coaches, and staff are committed to helping shape the conversation around suicide and mental illness, and educate people about these important issues. In addition to giving online to the AFSP, we also encourage to attend our Suicide Awareness events at various home games throughout the year.
SUICIDE AWARENESS EVENTS
Wednesday, Jan. 16 – Men's/Women's Basketball vs. Eckerd (5:30 p.m. doubleheader)
Saturday, Feb. 2 – Men's/Women's Basketball vs. Nova Southeastern (5:30 p.m. doubleheader)
Spring Sports events are TBA and will be announced in January.
GIVE TO THE AFSP TODAY
The Mocs are encouraging fans to donate online through the AFSP's official website. Donations will be accepted during the entire 2018-19 academic year, and more information can be found by clicking HERE. A total of 50 percent of the funds raised through online giving will go to the Central Florida Chapter of the AFSP, while the other half will go to help efforts across the nation.
SUICIDE FACTS AND STATISTICS
According to the AFSP, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, taking nearly 45,000 lives each year. On average 123 people die by suicide each day in America, and the national suicide rate has risen nearly 30 percent since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
For more facts and statistics from the ASFP, click HERE.
ABOUT THE AFSP
Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education, and advocacy to take action against the 10th leading cause of death.
AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. We create a culture that's smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies:
- Funding scientific research
- Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
- Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
- Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide in our mission
With the help of our nationwide network chapters in all 50 states, AFSP is reaching those in local communities with opportunities to get involved in our programs and events. In 2017, the ASFP celebrated 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. Learn more about our work in the latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.