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'Out of the darkness and into the light': A walk for mental health

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Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 30, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — Hundreds of University of Kentucky students gathered on campus Saturday to raise awareness about mental health struggles.

The "Out of the Darkness Walk" is designed to "engage youth and young adults in the fight to prevent suicide," according to the American Foundaiton for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The event is the AFSP's signature student fundraising series.

Members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity helped organize the event.

"We need to break down the stigma of mental health and suicide," said Johnny Zelenak, a junior and the chair of the event. "Especially on college campuses."

Zelenak spoke to LEX 18 with green beads around his neck. He explained that the color signified a personal experience with mental health struggles.

"It's something that is really just looked at as kind of taboo," Zelenak said. "Therefore many people don't get the necessary resources that they really need. So, we can really step out of the darkness and into the light."

Suicide is the second leading cause of death [afsp.org] among people ages 15-24, according to the AFSP.

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, you are urged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline [suicidepreventionlifeline.org] at 1-800-273-8255.