'A good cause': Outrace the Stigma 5K raises awareness of mental health concerns

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Saturday, April 8, 2023
Outrace the Stigma 5K raises awareness of mental health concerns
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Dozens of people braved chilly, rainy conditions Saturday morning on North Carolina State's Centennial Campus during the Outrace the Stigma 5 K.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dozens of people braved chilly, rainy conditions Saturday morning on North Carolina State's Centennial Campus during the Outrace the Stigma 5 K. The service project for State's Omega Phi Delta sorority, now in its sixth year, attracted a variety of people interested in supporting the concept. Some came with pet dogs, others walked with friends and some, like sisters Erica Alexander and Adrienne Pickard, ran all the way.

"I haven't run in months. So this was a stretch, so I enjoyed it," said Alexander.

"We like the cause," Pickard said. "We want to bring awareness to mental health., and we also want to stay healthy."

The event is happening as NC State works to help students cope with issues related to their mental health. Ten State students died recently, five by suicide.

ALSO SEE: 20% spike in calls for 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline since summer launch in NC

Proceeds from Saturday's 5K go to the National Alliance on Mental Health or NAMI. Nina Leger, the 5K's organizer, works at NAMI and appreciates the turnout at a time when coronavirus concerns affects outdoor fundraisers that provide assistance to those who need it.

"And those who struggle with mental health. I struggled myself, and I just wanted to create awareness around what I was feeling. This sorority's a great place, it's a community service organization, and I thought it was a great space to introduce the walk," Leger said.

The 5K organized in 2019 brought a $2,000 donation to NAMI. The sorority is still working to boost mental health awareness on NC State's campus. And for those discouraged by Saturday's rain, participants hope you'll join them in 2024.

"It's a good cause. Do it next year. Maybe it'll be sunny. We'll do it again," said Alexander.

If you are experiencing suicidal, substance use or other mental health crises please call or text the new three-digit code at 988. You will reach a trained crisis counselor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also go to 988lifeline.org.