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Sept. 26 Run Marks Suicide Awareness Month

9/19/2013

Las Vegas, N.M. – The New Mexico Highlands University Campus Violence Prevention Program will sponsor an “Out of the Darkness” run Sept. 26 to mark Suicide Awareness Month.

The free event begins at 7 p.m. with registration at the university’s new Student Union Building at 8th Street and National Avenue. Participants will receive glow sticks and bracelets as well as mini flashlights to help light the way.

The one-mile run begins at 7:30 p.m. Runners will leave the student union, heading up Bridge Street to circle the historic Las Vegas Plaza Park before returning to campus to conclude at Donnelly Library.

“We want to bring awareness to the severity of suicide on college campuses,” said Corilia Ortega, advocacy and education coordinator for the violence prevention program. “National statistics show that nearly 1,100 college students commit suicide each year.” 

The university is part of a national movement of “Out of the Darkness” events in September to raise awareness about suicide prevention. The first 25 runners in the Highlands run get a free event T-shirt. 

“There are many myths and incorrect information about suicide that are widely accepted. Our continual goal is to provide accurate information to our campus community,” Ortega said.

She added that more open talk about suicide is needed. When combined with nonjudgmental listening, this increased openness can help encourage people in crisis to seek professional help.

“With this event, we will literally be bringing light and hope to the darkness, demonstrating compassion and support for those who may not have either,” Ortega said.

There will be resource information available at the Student Union Building as runners register. Goodie bags at the end of the run will include additional suicide awareness resources.

“This is a family-friendly event, and we invite the Las Vegas community to also participate,” said Kimberly Valdez-Blea, CVPP director. “Runners, joggers and walkers are all welcome. Healthy refreshments will be provided at the end of the route.”

Valdez-Blea said Ortega did an outstanding job organizing “Out of the Darkness,” with help from CVPP student workers Latasha Burbank, Xena Montoya, and Allie Burnquist.

The university’s student athletes will turn out in force to support the suicide awareness run, including the women’s soccer, baseball, cross-country, and track teams. For the men, the cross-country, baseball and wrestling teams will participate.

For more details about the Sept. 26 “Out of the Darkness” run, contact Ortega at 505-454-3445 or visit CVPP on Facebook at No Violence HU.

The Campus Violence Prevention Program provides free crisis and advocacy services for the university’s students. Additional free behavioral health services for Highlands students are available through the university’s Student Health Center (505-454-3218) as well as the Counseling Center in the School of Education (505-454-3564).

The Counseling Center also provides free counseling services to the local community.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 



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