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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Suspenders4Hope 5k and Memorial Walk highlight hope, destigmatization of mental health

Mia Hennen
Holding hands, Kate and Matt Anthony cross the finish line of the Suspenders4Hope 5k together. Kate won second place in the women’s 40-49-year-old category of the race, while Matt won second in the 50-59-year-old category for the men.

The Suspenders4Hope 5k and Memorial Walk is an annual event that gathers community together to bring awareness to mental health and celebrate the lives and memory of those who have lost their life to suicide.

The run was a collaboration with Suspenders4Hope and StopSuicideICT, presented by Ascension Via Christi and the Steve Clark YMCA.

Suspenders4Hope is a campaign focused on destigmatizing mental health with a hope-centered approach to improve community wellness. 

Marci Young, WSU director of Health, Outreach, Prevention and Education (HOPE) Services, and Jessica Provines, assistant vice president of Wellness at WSU, co-created Suspenders4Hope in 2015 after receiving a SAMHSA Campus Suicide Prevention grant for a mental health awareness campaign.

“Each human is so important to so many more people than they would ever believe. And if we knew how important we were to everyone around us, we would never think of anything less than ourselves than the magnificent human beings we are,” Young said.

The 3rd annual 5k began at the YMCA, with runners lined up waiting. WuShock sounded the air horn, and the Shocker Sound Machine played the runners off with blaring horns to “Tank!” the opening theme to the show “Cowboy Bebop.”

The runners set off at a steady pace, passing through an inflatable arch as they embarked on their brief journey across campus.

Runners of all ages participated in the event, and the award ceremony had various categories to highlight those who participated at different age levels.

Many runners were involved in the Wichita State community, working on and around campus. Two runners, Gabrielle Meyer and Chase Brand, started running together around a year ago and decided to participate in the race because it was a good cause. Brand, who works at NetApp, said that he and his coworkers ran to support someone who died at his office. 

Jake Dunne, KWCH meteorologist, shared his story of losing his father and the process of acceptance with the audience after the award ceremony.

“You know those that make the choice, and if that might be you or someone you know, get help. Someone loves you. Someone cares about you. Somebody needs you,” Dunne said. “And then there’s the other side. The side that was left behind, like myself, you know, it hurts. It’s hard.”

 He highlighted the important role counseling played in his grief, and how hard it is for survivors of loss.

“You have questions, you don’t know where to go. You don’t know how to handle the emotions. I didn’t, and I don’t wanna say I lost 10 years of my life, but I definitely had 10 years and I wish I could do over,” Dunne said.

The race was followed by a 1-mile memorial walk. Community members gathered and walked around campus, honoring and remembering those that they have lost.

If you or anyone you know are struggling with mental health, recovery is possible, and there are local and national resources available. 

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About the Contributors
Taliyah Winn
Taliyah Winn, Assistant News Editor
Taliyah Winn is the assistant news editor for the Sunflower. She is a sophomore at WSU, double majoring in political science and journalism. In her spare time, Winn relaxes by drawing, weightlifting, and crocheting - usually while listening to music, YouTube videos, or Dungeons & Dragons podcasts. Winn uses she/her pronouns.
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.

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