UMD Student From Severna Park Promotes Out Of The Darkness Walk

Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2023

During Ryan Sullivan’s senior year at Severna Park High School in 2021, a fellow student committed suicide. Now a sophomore at the University of Maryland, Sullivan wants to help those who battle depression and anxiety.

As a member of the fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha, Sullivan is gearing up for an Out of the Darkness Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The walk will be held on the University of Maryland campus in College Park on April 2 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Sullivan’s mom is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and works in mental health, so it’s a topic that has always been important in his family. He is trying to raise $5,000 as a walk participant and has set up an AFSP fundraising page.

The Voice caught up with Sullivan in advance of the walk.

Q: The Out of the Darkness Walk is a big event for Lambda Chi Alpha. What is your personal connection to the cause?

A: I’ve been blessed enough to be surrounded by a family that is in health care and particularly mental health, so it’s really been a gigantic part of my life since I can remember. I’ve also dealt with depression and anxiety myself since middle school and know how hard it can be sometimes to get out of bed and just get going. The lows feel so low, and I can really relate to a lot of those who’ve gone through the same thing.

Also, while I was in high school, I’ve seen what suicide can do to friends, family and an entire community. It’s truly heartbreaking and I wish I had a bigger platform to make a difference, and now I finally feel like I have a platform to try and help.

Q: Were you involved with the Out of the Darkness Walk last year?

A: I was not involved in the walk last year. The walk happens every spring, and I joined my fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, this fall. Actually, a gigantic part of me joining was the philanthropy, and having it be related to mental health gave me a direct connection to the fraternity.