World Suicide Prevention Day Memorial Walk to be held in Oskaloosa

William Penn University Safe

William Penn University Safe

SAFE (Students Advocating for Equality), a new organization at William Penn University this fall, will be holding a memorial walk on Wednesday, September 10th in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Oskaloosa, IA— September 10, 2014 – SAFE (Students Advocating for Equality), a new organization at William Penn University this fall, will be holding a memorial walk in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day at 10am, starting from the parking lot of the MTC, going along the Mahaska Recreation Trail to N 3rd and Peasley before returning to the WPU Campus. You may register for free and see a map of the route online at

This is the first annual memorial walk held in Oskaloosa, which helps to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide; this roughly corresponds to one death every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.

SAFE Advisor, Nate Chamberlain, says, “The psychological pain that leads each of these individuals to take their lives is unimaginable. We walk on September 10th to remember those we’ve lost to suicide in the past and support those who are struggling right now with this very real and difficult issue.”

Overall, it is estimated that during 2012 for each adult who died of suicide there were over 20 others who made suicide attempts. Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved. Connectedness is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. Studies have shown that social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and, conversely, that having strong human bonds can be protective against it. Reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship may be a life-saving act.

Chamberlain adds, “Individuals who are despairing and thinking about suicide need to know that there is help available. All you need to do is to ask for help. This walk will mean a lot to the survivors of suicide, their families and all others impacted.”

SAFE is a new organization at William Penn University that aims to connect students with opportunities and resources to build and advocate for a healthy, comfortable and supportive community for LGBT persons and allies at William Penn University and surrounding communities. World Suicide Prevention Day is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), a global association of academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors from over 50 countries who are devoted to preventing suicidal behavior and alleviating its effects.



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