Through T-shirts, SGA hopes to end stigma of mental illness
More than 1,000 T-shirts were spread over Butler Plaza on Tuesday to “End the Stigma.”
The event, which Student Government Association’s Director of External Affairs Delaney Catlettstout organized, used the T-shirts to represent and commemorate the average number of college students who committed suicide each year.
Cattlettstout said the goal was to get students familiar with clinicians from Counseling and Psychological Services and hopefully prevent more suicides.
“This is an event that shows students that they’re not alone, and there are resources available to them,” Catlettstout said. “They can start talking about issues like suicide, depression, mental illness and no one will think anything about it. There won’t be any stigma attached to it because all of us care about each other and care about each other’s well-being.”
The CAPS Task Force, an SGA initiative to improve counseling services on campus, led and organized the event. In just one week, it collected all the T-shirts through donations from groups and individuals across campus — from residence halls to student organizations.
“End the Stigma” is one of a few initiatives by the newly created CAPS Task Force, which is working to inform CAPS of issues that students have voiced to SGA and come up with solutions.
Students who’ve had poor experiences with CAPS reported issues concerning referrals to off-campus clinics, quality of counseling and long waiting periods between appointments, according to the task force’s findings.
“Even though they have issues, they have no bad intentions and they’re a great resource for students,” Catlettstout said. “Affordable psychological services isn’t really a thing in Texas. It’s really great that we have those offered to us as students, so I think that is it something that should be promoted.”
“End the Stigma” organizers hoped to introduce students to CAPS who might not know the service exists on campus — a problem that CAPS Task Force chairwoman and SGA Deputy Chief of Staff Winni Zhang said she frequently heard.
“A lot of students aren’t aware that suicide is a problem at colleges and universities,” Zhang said. “We’re really bringing attention to that and showing in shirts just how many people lose their lives each year.”