Student Government, Suicide Awareness Organization working to bring suicide prevention 5k to campus


Ashley Siegner/Iowa State Daily

Scott Moss, senator for the College of Business, attends the Student Government meeting on Aug. 23, 2017. 

Alex Connor

For Nathan Pfister and Scott Moss, the opportunity to bring “Out of the Darkness” – a 5k that raises awareness to mental health and suicide prevention – came together after a culmination of events coincided.

Pfister, director of mental health awareness for Student Government and president of Iowa State’s Suicide Awareness Organization said he was approached by a former alum to bring the walk to campus.

At the time, he and Moss – College of Business senator for Student Government – were already having the discussion of bringing a 5k regarding the issue to campus.

“Out of the Darkness” seemed to make for the perfect fit.

This spring, the two are hoping to make their vision a reality by hosting the 5k –which fundraises money for local suicide prevention organizations. 

“It’s a suicide prevention walk that’s sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,” Moss said. “The purpose of it is to raise awareness for suicide prevention, and raise money for local community organizations which focus on mental health and trying to help fund them and help beat that stigma.”

“And we want to bring that to campus because we know how prevalent the issue of mental health is at any college campus.”

For Pfister and Moss, eliminating a mental health stigma and advocating for suicide prevention is an issue both have advocated for while at Iowa State. 

They are hoping that by bringing this walk to campus, they will bring power to the people impacted by mental illness and suicide. 

“I think it sends a powerful message to students that they are not alone,” Pfister said. “And that this does exist and it’s OK.”

Moss said he has previously participated in an “Out of the Darkness” walk, specifically after his dad committed suicide when Moss was 11. 

“It was just an awesome event that was very supportive and it was great to experience it with other families and friends that possibly lost someone from suicide,” Moss said. 

On top of raising awareness to the issue through the 5k, Pfister and Moss also want students to know there are several campus resources available regarding mental health, including the Thielen Student Health Center, Student Counseling Services, Student Wellness and ISU Police. 

To make it all happen, Moss and Pfister are forming a committee and asking for Iowa State students with a background in marketing and advertising, but also an interest in mental health advocacy, to join.

While “Out of the Darkness” provided an overview of the process to bring it to campus, Pfister said, they had to make it their own – this means forming their own positions within the committee and handling outreach. 

“After the team is formed, we’ll meet sometime at the end of September and give an overview of the events, timeline and what has to happen – logistics,” Pfister said. 

Pfister and Moss are hoping for about 10 committee members. Applications are due Sunday, Sept. 17 and are accessible here