Suicide prevention walk held at Marshall

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A large turnout circled Marshall University's campus Tuesday evening at the third annual Walk for Hope to raise awareness for campus suicide prevention.

They're working toward reducing fear of asking for help.

"We want to keep our students safe," social works professor Paula Rymer, who organized the event, said.

Rymer's daughter took her own life when she was in college in 2004.

"It's a hard thing," Rymer said. "It's hard for her friends, her family. We've all struggled with -- why did this happen?"

She says over the past decade suicides have gone up in the U.S. nearly 30 %, and the second highest rate of suicides happens with young people between 14 and 24 years old.

"My daughter was a 4.0 student," Rymer said. "She went to college on a soccer and track scholarship. She was very driven, so sometimes we wonder. Sometimes our students are very focused on being perfect and they don't realize they've got to give themselves a chance just to be a student and to be a 19-year-old."

Josh Lord was one of the guest speakers at the event. One of his friends committed suicide a few years ago.

"I believe it's important for everybody to pipe up and make it less of a taboo to speak about stuff like this," he said. "It needs to be talked about for sure, and it needs to be acknowledged so other people don't feel alone."

"We've seen a lot of disconnect," Rymer said. "That's one of the things we're looking at here at Marshall is being more connected instead of always being in a phone."

You can call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

You can text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

Trained counselors will answer those calls and texts.