TCU’s “RU OK?” campaign hosted the “A Light in the Darkness” Candlelight Vigil Wednesday night at Frog Fountain.
The ceremony gave students an opportunity to remember those lost to suicide and to acknowledge those struggling now.
Cortney Gumbleton, suicide prevention outreach coordinator, manages TCU’s “RU OK?” campaign. The counseling center staff worked with the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life to organize the event.
Gumbleton has a personal connection to the “R U OK?” campaign because she personally lost a friend to suicide. She said she wants to teach students, staff and faculty how to identify suicide symptoms and take the right steps for prevention.
“Just starting the conversation and having that dialogue about mental health will open a lot of eyes,” Gumbleton said.
Student Body President Cody Westphal was one of the speakers at the event. Westphal believes the vigil further promoted this idea.
“You can’t just throw pamphlets and flyers at people and expect the problem to go away,” Westphal said. “It ignores the emotional reality of this. I will keep trying to do everything in my power because I know that if we all work together, we can make a difference. Tonight, our love has led us here to honor those we have lost, to transform tragedy and commit to a hope that none shall be lost again.”
The vigil began with a prayer from Rev. Angela Kaufman, minister of the university, and closed with a rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” by the TCU Worship Team.
The worship team asked attendees to raise candles in memory of those lost to suicide, but windy weather hampered this effort. Students were quick to raise their phones in the air as a substitute.
Kristie Tinh, a nursing major, was at the vigil and said she encourages people to be open about their feelings.
“Approach people more,” she said. “If they’re not feeling ok, definitely bring it up because if you don’t talk about it, you can’t really do anything about it.”
This story was updated on 9/24/14 at 9:19 a.m. to correct Courtney Gumbelton’s position with the “R U OK?” campaign.