USC Hosts First "Out Of The Darkness" Campus Walk

9:02 PM, Mar 24, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The Centers for Disease Control reports that about every 14 minutes someone commits suicide.

University of South Carolina students and Columbia residents came out  Sunday to bring awareness to suicide and suicide awareness.

"You don't always know the kids that are susceptible to this," Larry McElyea said. 

When Larry and Elaine McElyea sent their son, John, to USC they knew he'd go far.

"He was kind of amazing as far as his interests, he was brilliant," Elaine McElyea said.

"He could make any crowd laugh," Larry said.

But then the Honors student disappeared.

"I got a call from Elaine saying that he was missing and I mentioned putting the dots together earlier," Larry said. "Then I was washed over with a feeling that John's committed suicide. I just kind of knew it in my mind."

On Sunday the McElyeas walked in John's honor. But unfortunately John's case isn't unique."College students are a very vulnerable population when it comes to suicide, it's the second leading cause of death for this age group," said Corinne Mercogliano who helped plan the event.

USC held its first "Out of the Darkness" Campus Walk. Larry McElyea says it's programs like this that help people identify the signs.

"Helping to connect the dots and see, 'oh, well he did this, but that's not so bad. This, well that doesn't mean anything.' But when you add them all up together, connect the dots," Larry said.

Despite the rainy weather, participants came out to walk. Elaine McElyea wants this event to get the message out to those who are thinking of suicide to consider loved ones.

"I don't think the person is in their right mind but for the friends and family that they leave behind it is such a hard path to travel," Elaine said.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255).

Resources for suicide and suicide prevention can be found at AFSP.org and suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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