One student's quest to combat mental health stigma will culminate in a "walkathon" across the Golden Gate Bridge this summer.

Led by senior Pooja Mehta, the event called "Unabridged" will be held June 10 and is designed to raise funds for Mental Health America, a nonprofit for mental health support and advocacy. Mehta noted that she hopes other supporters will join in by walking across their own local bridges in solidarity, spreading her message to a wider audience.

“People aren't familiar with mental disorders and what they truly mean," Mehta said. "A lot of that stems from the fact that as a society, we choose not to talk about these issues."

She explained that a lack of advocacy contributes to a limited public understanding of what mental health entails.

By organizing such a large event, Mehta hopes to spur conversation about mental health and its associated stigma in the local community and beyond. Since participants will be wearing identical shirts, passersby will be even more likely to take notice of the event, she said.

Mehta noted that she has experienced mental health stigmatization firsthand during her battles with anxiety and depression, which inspired her to design the walkathon.

“As someone with a mental illness, it's something I need to hide, especially entering my senior year and going to job interviews,” she said.

She described previous job interviews in which she was asked about the struggles she faces in her everyday life. During each of these instances, Mehta debated whether to reveal her mental health issues—a crucial part of her identity, she said.

Often, Mehta decided against it, which she noted is common in the mental health community. This insight, she said, led her to name the event “Unabridged.”

“I've had to abridge myself," she said. "I've had to cut out part of my identity."

Mehta explained that she first got idea for the walkathon last summer, and she has since worked with a partner at Stanford University, junior Urvi Gupta, to launch Unabridged. Fronting the cost for the walkathon herself, she has secured the permits with the Golden Gate Bridge Commission, designed the event's website and commissioned a logo.

“I don't think that people believe I can make the walkathon as successful as I see it," Mehta said. "In the end, I expect this event to be something that everyone in the country knows about."

Although a North Carolina resident, Mehta opted for the Golden Gate Bridge as the location of her walk due to its wide reputation as a suicide site. According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 1,400 people have willingly plunged to their deaths from the bridge since its opening in 1937. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that during the next four years, construction of a suicide prevention net will take place.

“The bridge is a beautiful piece of architecture," Mehta said. "I hate that people see it as a vehicle for ending their life."

Mehta's goal is for participants to collectively walk across the bridge 44,193 times—the same number of Americans who reportedly committed suicide in 2015.

On the day of the walk, participants will be asked to pay a suggested donation of $30, which includes the price for the event's official shirt and other associated costs, she said.

Mehta noted that she plans to continue her advocacy past the event and hopes others will do the same.

“While this is a walk, I want it to be more of a movement," she said. "I’m trying to encourage people to be the full versions of themselves—not to abridge themselves.”