Alumna's Senior Project Becomes Annual Community Event to Fight Suicide

Alumna's Senior Project Becomes Annual Community Event to Fight Suicide

October 23, 2017 - By Prescott College

In the Fight Against Suicide, the Out of the Darkness Community Walk is “a Journey of Remembrance and a Walk that Unites a Community”


Prescott College alumna, Ann Marie Boutin, coordinated the second annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk this year with the help of the Arizona Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Yavapai County is undoubtedly looking forward to another great event this November after the success of Prescott's first Out of the Darkness Community Walk last year, which Boutin coordinated for her Senior Project. Boutin decided to make the Out of Darkness Community Walk an annual event for the community because she believes, “suicide is a very important topic to talk about.” By coordinating another great opportunity to fight against suicide, remember those that have passed, and unite a community, Boutin hopes that, “in spreading awareness, education and support, we can help reduce the stigma of suicide.” This event will help raise money for AFSP to conduct new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy and support survivors of suicide loss.

As a requirement to graduate from Prescott College, seniors must create a Senior Project that is applicable in the world and that demonstrates their high competence in their field of study. Boutin’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk was a great success after the positive impact it made on Yavapai County last year. Boutin was inspired to coordinate the event because of her own battle with suicide and the loss of five loved ones. When she moved to Prescott, Arizona she joined a survivors of loss group and eventually became a lead chair member. When the time came to create a Senior Project, Boutin knew she wanted to make a change in her community after learning that Yavapai County had the 4th highest county rate of suicide deaths in Arizona. Boutin stated in her Baccalaureate speech that she, “felt so empowered and blessed to have this experience with my friends and community members, and it was an honor for me to provide this space to support others who have been touched by suicide.”

Last year, there were 150 attendees, many who created fundraising teams for their loved ones. Spending six months planning the event, Boutin organized community resource tables that included The West Yavapai Guidance Clinic, the LGBTQ Plus Collation, and the Granite Mountain Psychological Society. In coordinating all of these resources, Ann Marie Boutin hopes to reduce the negative stigma that suicide and mental health have, and to provide support to those that struggle with suicidal thoughts and have suffered the loss of a loved one.

The second annual Out of Darkness Community Walk will take place on November 4, 2017. You can register here.

Ann Marie Boutin was also featured in The Daily Courier. You can read the article here.