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A Community Gathering to Prevent Depression and Suicide

Kara Lofton

On Saturday, community members and students from all four colleges in the Harrisonburg area will gather in Bridgewater to participate in the fourth annual Walk for Hope.WMRA’s Kara Lofton has the story.

The event unites Bridgewater, Eastern Mennonite, James Madison and Blue Ridge Community College to bring awareness about depression and suicide prevention.

This year Bridgewater is hosting the walk, a role that rotates between the schools from year to year. Randy Hook is the director of counseling there.

RANDY HOOK: I see so many young people, that just feel like they have to do it alone and we’re just not built for it has humans, we are not built to do this thing called life alone and we need others. And so doing this walk and seeing JMU students and EMU students and Blue Ridge students and Bridgewater students and community members and children walking in support of, more than anything, of hope is really a powerful statement and it’s one we hope we can continue growing year after year.

Participants will gather at Turner Ashby High School at 11:15am on Saturday. The 2-mile walk to Bridgewater College is scheduled to begin at 11:30am.

The walk is a family friendly event and includes activities like face painting, hula hooping and arts & crafts for children or the young at heart. There will also be donuts and a food truck.  

After the walk, Canadian comedian and writer Kevin Breel will speak to attendees about his struggle with depression. Hook said that people often assume because Breel is a comedian he couldn’t be depressed, but unfortunately folks like Robin Williams have shown us that is a misnomer.

HOOK: I hope that events like this continue to give that message that we’ve got to talk about this - not talking about it is not going to make it go away.

Kara Lofton is a photojournalist based in Harrisonburg, VA. She is a 2014 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University and has been published by EMU, Sojourners Magazine, and The Mennonite. Her reporting for WMRA is her radio debut.