Walk for Hope aims to prevent suicide

LINCOLN, Neb -- 1,100 pairs of shoes were sent to Concordia University in the past several weeks.

Each pair represented a student that lost their life to suicide.

At the 1st Annual Walk for Hope, each pair of shoes was spread out, taking up half of an indoor basketball court, showing the enormity of lives lost to suicide. Walk for Hope is meant to connect the community to its resources in an effort to prevent suicide.

"We just want people to be there for each other and know that there are places you can go," said Maggie Goltz, an intern for the Student Health Center at CUNE. "Suicide is not the only option."

Nearly 400 people attended the walk and met with local resources, like counselors, buddy check programs and learned of suicide prevention hotlines.

Organizers stressed the importance of talking about suicide and helping when possible.

"I think the biggest thing that we're trying to do is build a tribe," said Jeff Baker, Seward County Veterans Service Officer. "We're trying to be there for each other."

And while the college student statistic can seem high, military veterans commit suicide at a higher rate. Every day 22 veterans take their lives. In a year that totals out to be 8,030 military lives lost to suicide. Programs like Seward Buddy Check provide community for members of the military and a space for them to check in on each other.

"To me, it's just a sense of community," said Nick Werman, who runs Seward Buddy Check. "It's a reason and a way to bring veterans together to hopefully bring that number down... Just make sure you're there when your brother or sister in arms needs you."