Wanda Gryszkiewicz’s 21-year-old son, Gary “Mitch” Gryszkiewicz, committed suicide in 2014, when he was a University of Maryland student and member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.

Sunday, Gryszkiewicz urged hundreds of people gathered outside McKeldin Library to speak up if they are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts at this university’s annual Out of the Darkness Walk, an event aimed at raising suicide prevention awareness.

“Please ask for help — your mom, your best friend, whoever,” she said, holding back tears. “I know they want to end their pain, but instead they end their life.”

About 350 people helped raise more than $26,000 for the walk. The event, held by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, uses funds raised from walks around the country “to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy” and support people who have lost a loved one to suicide, according to its website.

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Lambda Chi Alpha, Alpha Chi Omega, Active Minds at Maryland, the Help Center, the Counseling Center and HEALTH Works co-sponsored the event.

AFSP will hold about 150 campus walks this year and 410 community walks, said Kat Olbrich, the organization’s Maryland area director. This university held the largest campus walk in the nation last year and is leading so far in 2017, she said.

Event coordinators are still counting donations and will be accepting online contributions until June 30, Olbrich said. They expect to reach their target goal of $30,000, said Jared Kovach, this university’s walk chair and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha.

AFSP aims to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students, and more than 50 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from depression, according to the organization’s website.

This university has in recent years struggled to meet the demand for mental health services on the campus. Although the University Health Center’s counseling center can see 50 to 90 people in one day, The Diamondback reported in November 2015 that students with nonurgent cases may have to wait up to three weeks for an appointment with a psychotherapist.

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Lambda Chi Alpha member CJ Pendleton first approached his fraternity with his own struggle with depression a few years ago, he said.

“I went through depression and suicidal tendencies and it was a really dark time,” said Pendleton, a senior kinesiology major. “I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about my family and friends and found out the most important thing about people is love. You can never quantify it, hold it, you can never really touch it, but you just know it’s there and that’s what got me through it.”

Now, Pendleton said he “saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m still trucking along.”

Paul Mayer, a junior landscape architecture major and Alpha Gamma Rho member, said he came to participate in this year’s walk because of his close friends’ struggles with depression and his fraternity brother’s death.

“It’s something that is personal to me and it sucks,” Mayer said. “It’s important that the word gets out and the stigma is broken.”

Kovach said he was happy with this year’s turnout and the “supportive, welcoming [and] loving” environment the walk provided.

“The message is that you’re not alone and we’re here to support you,” said Kovach, a senior finance major. “Every year that we are here and saying that same message, it just reinforces it, so each year it gets better.”