September marks the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Month, with the week of Sept. 8 through the 14 being specifically dedicated to suicide prevention. The college is recognizing Suicide Prevention Week this week by scheduling a mental health-related event each day. Several organizations such as Student Life, the campus Police Department, the counseling department and the Sexual Abuse Response Team (SART) and Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) are contributing to bringing awareness to suicide and mental health.
Today, clubs and organizations gathered in the Commons Plaza to engage with students as part of the Wellness Bar and Involvement Fair, which explored how physical health and self-care can influence mental illness. The fair featured stationary bikes which powered a set of speakers and a free yogurt bar.
Monday kicked off the week with the resource fair, which featured multiple tables at the top of the main stairs in the Commons building. Each table was run by various organizations, including Veterans Club, Active Minds and the college’s Counseling and Advising services. Outside organizations, such as SASS-Mokan (The Suicide Awareness Survivor Support organization in Missouri and Kansas) and Hope 22, a Kansas City-based art project that uses photos to help spread awareness of the 22 veterans who die from suicide every day, also attended the fair. The fair’s purpose was to connect students to potentially life-saving resources in the area.
Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day, which served to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental health resources. Student Life members passed out popcorn to attract student attention, and also provided candy, stickers and flyers with information about resources around campus. Student Life members Giuliana Valiente Molas and Cambre Morrow worked the table, passing out popcorn and other items to nearby students.
“There are so many people that face struggles with suicide and mental health and they [may] feel alone,” Morrow said. “It helps to have some events that help them feel not so alone and [more] connected. We hand out resource pamphlets that have [counselors’ numbers who] do mental health counseling.”
Throughout the week, Student Life will continue to organize events to reduce the stigma surrounding getting help with mental illness. Thursday’s event will feature guest speaker Professor Ash Allee, a trans social worker and queer activist, who will speak about mental health in the LGBTQ+ community. His seminar will be held in Regnier Center 270. The week will conclude with a Friday Hangout at the Fountain Square at 12 p.m.
There are plenty of resources available to students on campus who are experiencing struggles with mental health and suicide. From the counselors to the Active Minds club, there is no shortage of help at the college.
Story by Alieu Jagne