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Suicide Awareness Walk at Fisher Honors Late Faculty Member

April 4, 2019

More than 300 St. John Fisher College students, faculty, and staff will join the effort to bring awareness to suicide and suicide prevention during the third annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk. Scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 7, the walk begins at Kearney Hall, in Cleary Auditorium.

This year, members of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy are walking in honor of their colleague, Dr. Jack Brown, who passed away from suicide in November 2017. His widow, Kristen Brown, is the team leader for the School, hoping his story can help bring to light issues of mental health and suicide that is prevalent in society today.

“When Kristen announced that she was going to lead our walk team and spoke to our School about suicide, I was inspired by her courage,” said Dr. Christopher Noel, assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy. “It was important for our faculty, staff, and students to hear that it is okay to talk about suicide. This will lead to stigma reduction and the saving of future lives.”

Currently the top fundraising walk in New York State, to date, Fisher’s 353 participants have raised more than $17,100 for the walk, which benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The foundation invests in new research, creates educational programs, advocates for public policy, and supports survivors of suicide loss. As the leader in the fight against suicide, AFSP has set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.

The campus walk, organized by Wegmans School of Nursing faculty member Tara Sacco, is sponsored by the Student Nurses Association; National Alliance of Mental Illness on Campus; Graduate Mental Health Counseling Student Representatives; Wegmans School of Pharmacy; Wegmans School of Nursing; and Health and Wellness Center.

“I am so humbled and honored by the support from the Fisher family for the Out of the Darkness Campus Walk. In the three years we have held this walk at St. John Fisher College, we have exceeded our participation and fundraising goals with each event,” said Sacco, visiting assistant professor in the School of Nursing. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24. Bringing this walk to campus increases awareness of mental health and suicide, breaking the stigma that surrounds these topics. I am proud of our efforts and continued growth.”

To join the walk or make a donation, visit www.afsp.org/sjfc.