Neuroscience Society participates in suicide prevention walk

Neither the chilly weather nor the time on the clock could stop Evan Zaucha, junior in MCB and LAS, and The Neuroscience Society from selling grilled cheeses at a booth in front of Alma Mater at midnight on Friday.

“We were out until 3 in the morning,” said Zaucha, secretary and publicity chair of the organization.

They weren’t just trying to satisfy the late-night appetites around campus, however. It was for what the organization believes to be a much bigger cause: the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

In addition to the late-night fundraising, Zaucha and other members of The Neuroscience Society will be travelling to Crystal Lake Park in Champaign on Saturday at 10 a.m. to participate in AFSP’s annual Out of the Darkness Walk, an event meant to “create a world without suicide” by educating and fundraising, according to the foundation’s website.

Zaucha believes each step will teach and educate people at the University about one of the warning signs of suicide, which is commonly experienced by college students: depression.

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“There are a ton of people, especially college age, that have been affected by depression,” Zaucha said. “College students deal with a lot of stuff. We’re more stressed and busy, and stress and anxiety are comorbid with depression.”

However, The Neuroscience Society doesn’t just want to show University students that depression is a problem.

“(Depression) has a stigma, and people feel uncomfortable coming out and getting the proper treatment. People don’t want to be seen as crazy,” Zaucha said. “It’s important that they’re able to come forward to their loved ones and mental health professionals to find a treatment option that works for them.”

Students interested in taking laps at Crystal Lake Park with The Neuroscience Society and other University students can still register for the event until midnight on Friday. However, there are other ways students who didn’t have the chance to lace up their sneakers can educate themselves on suicide and depression.

“Donations for AFSP go through January of 2015,” Zaucha said. “Our meetings are really cool ways to learn about the neuroscience behind it all and get involved in educating yourself so you can be either more understanding or patient to someone who’s dealing with (depression).”

Zaucha believes the walk will provide more than just good exercise to The Neuroscience Society and other participants.

“They’ll feel like they’re part of something bigger and contributing to an important cause,” he said.

Sarah can be reached at [email protected].