Ellipses Initiative, a new mental health awareness group on campus, is sponsoring a community walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention at ACU’s Beauchamp Amphitheater Saturday at 9 a.m.
Kalie Dame, freshman animal science/pre-vet major from Olney, said it was very important to her to get this walk on campus.
“My family started a community walk in Wichita Falls about 10 years ago,” Dame said.
Dame also said she had a number of family members commit suicide, and that she wanted to destroy the stigma behind mental illness.
“I hope that this walk brings awareness to Abilene, but especially the ACU community,” she said. “When I came here, I realized that a lot of people here did not have first-hand knowledge or experience about what happens to friends or family after a suicide.”
Madi Seawright, freshman psychology major from Colleyville who is also involved with the walk, said mental health is very close to her heart.
“[Mental health awareness] drives me as a person, and I think that more needs to be done to erase the stigma and support those who may be struggling, along with their families,” Seawright said.
Public awareness is important in this walk because many victims do not come forward beforehand because they are afraid of being judged, Seawright said.
“Once the public learns that it’s okay to be a little bit ‘crazy,’ and that this ‘crazy’ is its own kind of beautiful, I think people will be more willing to share their struggles,” Seawright said. “Something definitely needs to be done to change the stigma, and I think public awareness is one of the ways to do so.”
Most of all, Seawright wants to show people going through this kind of ordeal that they are not alone.
“I’m walking for myself and for many of my friends who struggle with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders,” Seawright said. “I am also walking for one of my childhood friends who took her own life during my sophomore year of high school. I want those who struggle with mental health issues to know that they’re not alone and that their story is important. Just because one may have an illness, that doesn’t mean they are any less human, or worthy of love, or less capable of giving love to others.”
To register for the walk, people can show up at 9 a.m. at the Beauchamp Amphitheater. To donate to the cause, visit http://www.afsp.org and click on the “donate” button.