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Counseling Center to host events in honor of Suicide Prevention Week

Out of the Darkness Walk

The Mountain State lost more than 600 people to suicide last year.

It’s a sobering statistic. And it’s one that will be on a lot of minds this week as the WVU Tech Counseling Center hosts events on and off campus in honor of Suicide Prevention Week.

On Tuesday, the center will host an information booth in the Bears Den from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. There, students will be able to register for the walk, register to volunteer for the event and find out more about the week’s activities.

Prevent Suicide WV will be on campus Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. to share information and answer questions. The on Thursday, the center will host Claudia Stoscheck, the suicide prevention outreach specialist at the Beckley VA Medical Center, also from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Before the week of awareness kicked off, students were asked to create suicide prevention and awareness posters for a poster contest. Those designs will be on display in the library beginning on Tuesday.

The week’s event will culminate on Saturday, September 15 at Beckley’s Out of the Darkness Walk.

Hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the walk will begin at the Intermodal Gateway, where local agencies will have booths and music. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies start at 6:00 p.m. with a guest speaker, and the walk will last until about 8:00 p.m. Attendees can register online at afsp.donordrive.com.

“This is the first ‘Out of the Darkness’ walk in Beckley,” said WVU Tech Behavioral Health Therapist Mary Hoke. “It's to bring awareness to the issue of suicide and to highlight prevention, but it's also to recognize those who we've lost.”

There will also be a display of more than 600 pairs of shoes honoring those West Virginians lost to suicide in 2017. Attendees will be able to light candles at the display in honor of those struggling with or lost to suicide.

For Hoke, the week is also about familiarizing students with local resources, including Tech’s on-campus Counseling Center.

"I want students to know that, if they are struggling, I'm here,” she said. 

Hoke said there are other resources available, too, like Prevent Suicide West Virginia, the Trevor Project for the LGBTQ community or the Veteran's Crisis Hotline.

"They're not alone. There are a lot of students out there who are dealing with this. The statistic hasn't changed from last year – 1,100 college students take their lives each year," she said.

Students can find more resources on the Counseling Center website