Personal loss inspires student to help

When tragedy struck Maranda Rosier’s life, she coped by helping others. The public health student lost her uncle last summer when he killed himself. Now she fights to prevent suicide around campus, as well as helping those who have lost someone to heal.

Rosier remembers her uncle as the funniest person she knew, calling him the clown of the family. Though he lived in Arizona for her younger years, Rosier and her uncle developed a special bond when he moved back to her hometown of North Augusta, S.C.

“He never had any kids, but he always said if he ever had a daughter, he’d want her to be just like me,” says Rosier.

The sophomore is now the chairman of the university’s Out of the Darkness Walk. The walk aims to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and remove the shame or discomfort about discussing suicide.

“People tend to blame the person,” says Rosier. “Suicide is done at their own hand, but depression is not their fault, especially if it goes undiagnosed.”

Rosier says the hardest thing about losing her uncle was how suddenly he was gone, and that it was his choice to leave. She knows the feeling of unanswered questions so many people who have lost someone to suicide face.

Her drive to spread awareness about the consequences of undiagnosed or unmonitored depression comes after the recognition of her own struggles.

“Losing my uncle encouraged me to get help with my own depression,” says Rosier. “A lot of people who struggle with suicidal thoughts or tendencies are afraid to speak up when they need help. We want to get rid of that stigma.”

The walk will be dedicated to those lost to suicide, those struggling with depression or with the loss of someone. Speakers will share their stories before and after the walk around campus. At the halfway point, a memory board will give walkers an opportunity to honor a loved one. Literature about suicide will be available.

“Losing my uncle did make my family closer and it reminded me that you never know how long you’ll have with someone,” Rosier says.

Learn more

Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk will start at 1 p.m., April 13, at the Russell House. You can register online or in person starting at noon at the Russell House theater.

Learn how you can help someone in emotional distress at the Suicide Prevention website

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health issues, there is hope. Reach out to help by calling the Counseling and Human Development Center at 803-777-5223, University Law Enforcement and Safety at 803-777-4215 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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