Psychiatry Department supports Out of the Darkness walk

Celeste Akers and Bonnie Dollen from the Department of Psychiatry work the info booth at the Out of the Darkness Walk.

More than a dozen Department of Psychiatry staff members walked together on Sept. 8 to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.

Nearly 6,000 people participated in the Out of the Darkness Walk at Lewis & Clark Landing in Omaha. More than 60 staff members from Nebraska Medicine signed up to help the important cause.

“I think our Nebraska Medicine/UNMC team had a good showing at this event because suicide prevention and support for people who have lost someone to suicide is a very important issue to many of our employees across the different departments, not just the behavioral health service line,” said Celeste Akers, lead community services technician. “Almost everyone who participated in the event has personally or professionally known someone who tragically died by suicide, whether it was a family member, co-worker, child’s friend, or former patient.”

Akers added that the Nebraska Medicine team met their fundraising goal of $2,000 to contribute to the cause of suicide prevention education and support.

“This walk is an important way to not only bring awareness and education about suicide prevention efforts and mental health support resources to the community at large, but also a way to show solidarity for supporting those who have experienced a loss due to suicide,” Akers said. “This year’s turnout of an estimated 6,000 registered participants is a testament in itself as to how important this issue is to our entire community.”

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