September is Suicide Prevention Month and Stony Brook University’s Center for Prevention and Outreach (CPO) is hosting a series of events to create awareness and promote resources for mental health and suicide prevention on campus.
The month features three spotlight events: an interactive exhibit from Active Minds, a suicide loss survivor guest speaker who is also an SBU alumnus and the fourth annual Walk of Hope. In addition, there are a series of other events and opportunities for support throughout the month.
“The main goal of the month is to educate, connect and empower our Seawolves on issues of mental health and suicide prevention in order to create an engaged and caring community that looks out for each other,” said Danielle Merolla, CPO’s associate director.
On Monday, September 13, CPO is hosting a national exhibit by Active Minds called “Send Silence Packing,” where 1,100 backpacks will be displayed on the Staller Steps from 9 am to 4 pm.
In the U.S., 1,100 students die by suicide annually, and the goal of the exhibit is to end the silence that surrounds mental illness and suicide. “We want to bring this exhibit on campus to engage the community to truly understand the enormity of the loss to inspire action for suicide prevention through education, awareness and distribution of mental health resources,” said CPO Director Smita Majumdar.
Active Minds members will be on campus, along with CPO’s peer educators and CAPS mental health staff, to engage and support students throughout the day. Active Minds was founded by Alison Malmon after her brother died from suicide. The group focuses on young adults 14-25 and has a mission of saving through research, support and advocacy.
On Wednesday, September 15, Stony Brook alumnus Roger Von Braun ’09 presents “Silence Solves Nothing,” where he will speak about his own personal experiences of losing his brother to suicide. Von Braun creates a unique perspective on suicide prevention and uses his compassion to offer support to students and inspires them to look out for each other.
On Wednesday, September 29, the Walk of Hope will take place at SAC plaza.“We walk in solidarity to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and signal our community that no one needs to suffer in silence and we are here to support each other,” said Majumdar. Students, faculty and staff are invited to join the walk and demonstrate to our fellow Seawolves that they are not alone.
In addition to the three main events, there are many other events happening throughout the month:
- Create Messages of Hope on 9/10, 9/15 and 9/22 provides a space for students to create posters and motivational rocks for the Walk of Hope.
- Mid-Day Mindfulness meets at 12 pm at Staller Steps on 9/6, 9/20 and 9/27 for peace and mindful meditation.
- QPR Bystander Training will also be offered throughout the month, teaching students to Question, Persuade and Refer — the three simple steps anyone can learn to help prevent a suicide. Interested students can register at tinyurl.com/cpobystander.
- Let’s Talk sessions with a counselor will be available to students throughout September. Students can register for a session at stonybrook.edu/letstalk. Let’s Talk offers a brief, confidential conversation with a counselor in person or virtually.
To learn more about Suicide Prevention Month and for more details about these events, visit stonybrook.edu/cpo.