Students make a statement about suicide prevention at the 2016 Out of the Darkness Campus Walk. (Sacramento State/Rob Neep)

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students, taking the lives of more than 1,100 promising young adults each year.

Sacramento State is committed to reducing the alarming suicide rate. So on Thursday, April 6, Student Health and Counseling Services and the University’s Active Minds chapter will team up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to present Sac State’s sixth annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk.

The event, a fundraiser for AFSP’s education and prevention programs, will begin at 4 p.m. at The WELL, with check-in and registration, a mental health fair, and remembrance activities. At 5:30 p.m., hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and members of the Sacramento community will begin a 2-mile trek through the heart of campus to the residence halls and back to The WELL.

“ ‘Out of the Darkness’ says it all. We must work together to end the silence and stigma surrounding suicide,” says Jody Nelsen, who will address the walk participants. She and her husband, Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen, lost their only child to suicide in 2001. Seth Nelsen, who suffered from depression, was 25 years old.

“Robert and I have attended several community and campus walks,” she says. “At each one, we meet incredible survivors who, despite their personal pain, are reaching out to help others heal. By sharing our stories of survival, we can help so many people, especially those who are so traumatized that they cannot talk about their experience. If we can open the door a crack and let a little bit of their pain seep out, then it is worth it.”

Additional speakers include Sac State student Morgan Glover and Peer Health Educator Alex Byrd.

To pre-register, make a donation to AFSP, and learn more about the Out of the Darkness Campus Walk, go to

Last year, Sacramento State was named one of the nation’s healthiest universities by Active Minds, a national nonprofit that works to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses and fight the stigma associated with mental illness. The University also hosted the 2016 Active Minds National “Mental Health on Campus” Conference, which drew hundreds of experts from across the United States.

“I am proud of what Sac State has achieved so far and am committed to building on our strengths as we continue to be innovators in campus health,” President Nelsen says. – Dixie Reid