Area colleges unite to fight depression, suicide in Walk for Hope

newspaperOn Saturday, March 28, Bridgewater College will host for the first time the fourth annual Walk for Hope – an event in which four area institutions of higher education will unite to raise awareness about depression and suicide prevention.

Joining Bridgewater College in the walk are Blue Ridge Community College, Eastern Mennonite University and James Madison University.

The walk will begin at Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater at 11:30 a.m. and will end at Bridgewater College’s Nininger Hall. Writer, comedian and activist for mental health Kevin Breel will speak at 12:30 p.m. in Nininger.

The event, which is expected to last until 3 p.m., is free and open to the public.

“This walk is a profoundly important event, and the name speaks to our purpose – hope,” said Randy Hook, director of counseling services at Bridgewater and one of the lead coordinators of the Walk for Hope. “Our belief is that when we stand, or walk, united as college communities against the stigma of mental illness, we do so in the belief that no one has to walk in silence.  Help is out there and we want our students and community to raise awareness of this reality.”

To register for the walk, go online to, click “Register to Walk,” and then select “Bridgewater College.”

The Walk for Hope is made possible by the Austin Frazier Memorial Fund, which was established in memory of a JMU student who died by suicide in October 2009.

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