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Stamping Out Stigma

By Cassie Pearson; Features Editor
On September 23, 2015

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and Stamping Out Stigma is soon to be PSU’s newest student organization on campus. SOS is a club promoting awareness to suicide prevention, mental illness, and depression. The idea for SOS began with Paige Young, a junior and Social Studies Education major at PSU, during her Writing and the Creative Process class. The class was given a project on how to change the world. “This seemed like such a daunting task at first, after all, the world is a pretty big place. But I got around to thinking about what in my life has affected me and suicide prevention jumped out,” said Young.

When asked why Young wanted to start the club she said, “In my high school career we lost two students to suicide, and it was devastating. I kept thinking what could we have done as a community to prevent this in the future and the most obvious thing jumped out at me, learning the warning signs. It sounds strange but most people don't know them.”

There are more than 1,100 suicides on college campuses each year. “The second thing that jumped out at me was the data,” said Young. “Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death amongst college aged students.” Young didn’t initially plan to create an entirely new student organization, but realized how important it was to have an outlet available to all students. “The more I talked to people the more I realized we should really have something more solid on campus. I enlisted the help of my friends Karleigh O'Brien and Meredith Nicosia and through many hours of meetings and brainstorming, we established the soon to be Stamping out Stigma,” Young said.

Young has many goals for this organization, from training other students in suicide prevention to popularizing the CARE form, and the counseling center, which is free to PSU students. “The CARE form is such a great tool that Plymouth State has come up with. It's an anonymous form that you can fill out if you are worried about a student on campus.” Young said,  “It lets the dean of students and the professors of the student know they are having a hard time so someone can reach out to them. These get automatically sent in and processed so the issue gets addressed in an extremely timely manor.”

SOS’s main goal is to eliminate the stigma associated with suicide and mental illness. “We want to take part in ensuring that Plymouth is a safe and healthy environment for everyone. We want students to know who to contact with concerns and where they can get help if they need it,” said Young.

The future for Stamping Out Stigma looks bright. They will be participating in a NAMI's suicide prevention walk on October 4th down in Concord. You can also find SOS hosting both the men and women’s hockey games on November 7th down at the ice arena.  SOS has meetings every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Hyde 439B.

 

PSU’s Counseling and Human Relations Center: (603) 535-2461

Suicide prevention hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255

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