URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The CDC reports that suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. A harsh reality that even college students face.

“Bring awareness to our campus community about suicide and just making it an open thing and topic we talk about in our community,” Caroline Pryzwara, a U of I student said.

Even though it can be hard to talk about, the community can play a critical role in prevention, which is why Caroline Przywara says it’s important to talk about on college campuses.

“A lot of us as college kids can understand that college can be a stressful environment, so we really think it’s important in a college community especially to know bring awareness that it is normal to be stressed out and feel overwhelmed for any reason,” Pryzwara said.

Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Illinois recognize the importance of prevention.

So, for the second year, the community participated in a silent walk around the quad.

Abby Weis, a student who helped organize the event says the walk also helps people regroup from the pandemic.

“After covid when mental health did really impact people negatively, everyone’s really excited to get out be together and unite for this cause,” Weis said.

During the walk, people held up signs with words of encouragement and statistics. Once the sun set, lights lit up the quad to symbolize finding the light in the darkness, one of the many messages at the event.

Aaliyah Johnson wants to remind others on campus that no one is alone, and the conversation never stops.

“People know that we’re here, that people know that we care,” Johnson said.

If you know someone seeking help, they can call the national suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-TALK or the latest hotline number at 988. It’s free and available 24/7.