Many of Americans today struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, or know someone who has. Students from JMU, EMU, Bridgewater and Blue Ridge Community College will gather to join in Walk for Hope, which aims to raise awareness and provide a venue for people to talk about their experiences with depression and suicide.
Preparations for Walk for Hope are well on their way at EMU. Work days to make origami paper cranes have been taking place in the East Dining Room. Even those who do not know how to make these cranes are coming and learning so that they can participate. Their goal is to reach 1,000 cranes before the event, which is set to take place on March 31.
Each school group will be meeting downtown in different locations and will walk to the Farmers’ Market. EMU students will be meeting at Community Mennonite Church at 8:45 a.m. and will start walking at 9:00 a.m.
Participants are encouraged to wear royal blue and white or something in memory of a loved one who committed suicide, or in support of a friend who struggles with mental health issues.
Junior Raquel Stoltzfus will be participating in the walk with her roommate. When asked why she decided to go, Stoltzfus replied, “I feel like a lot of people in our generation seem hopeless at times. I believe this is a good time to reach out. My roommate and I decided we would go and show our support.”
“We are all looking for some hope in this world, and you can’t do it alone. We as a community can come together and support each other,” Stoltzfus answered when asked why she feels it is important to show her support.
The guest speaker at the event is Julie Kosnick Hersh, author of “Struck by Living.” Hersh’s personal experience with suicide affected her life in a large way. Her attempt to commit suicide three times affected her husband, children, and those who love her.
Through the help of electronconvulsive therapy (ECT) she finally found freedom from this dangerous cycle.
Individuals interested in joining to support the cause and the fight for mental health should check the event’s Facebook page and join the walk on Saturday morning.