Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Students Raise Awareness About Suicide Prevention

TWLOHA-BW's "Black Flag Campaign"
With a year-round goal of fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness, student leaders of BW's Chapter of To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) used this month's National Suicide Prevention Week to heighten awareness at BW. The group staged an entire week of events inspired by the words that closed out last year's suicide prevention campaign, "No One Else Can Play Your Part."

Events at BW included a Candle Light Vigil,  a discussion of the symptoms of depression and suicide, coping methods and treatment options featuring counselors from BW Health Center, and an attention-getting "Black Flag Campaign," jointly staged with BW ALLIES. Five-hundred black and rainbow flags were dispersed around campus, each representing two of the college students who lose their lives to suicide each year, with many students expressing surprise at the number.

BW's TWLOHA Chapter President, Rachel Wilken '16, says that kind of awareness raising is exactly why she got involved with the group, "I want to be a part of something bigger than myself and have a lasting impact on how BW students view mental health issues."

TWLOHA also collaborated with BW's Music Therapy majors to stage the culminating event of the week, "Hope N' Mic Night," which invited students to discuss topics that aren't often talked about, such as mental illness and suicide. The SAC was at its capacity for a variety of performances including poetry, vocals and instrumentals, and $150 was raised for treatment.

BW's TWLOHA chapter was founded in 2012 and meets weekly to discuss how to raise awareness to mental health issues on campus. "I can honestly say that I have left every TWLOHA meeting in a better mood than I came in with," says Chris Horvath '17.
Music Therapy major and TWLOHA member, Jill Iurlano '17,  performing during Hope N' Mic Night