SGA hosts ‘End The Stigma’ event to raise awareness about mental health
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and therefore, after a hiatus of four years, the Student Government Association along with Counseling and Psychological Services organized a one-day initiative called End the Stigma.
End the Stigma featured a display of 1,100 shirts arranged in a circle around Butler Plaza. The shirts were meant to represent the 1,100 lives lost to suicide each year at campuses across the country.
“It was a really meditative and healing process for all of us,” said SGA Vice President Tyler Luc.
The initiative was aimed at supporting mental health among student groups at UH and to show their solidarity with victims of suicide and those struggling with suicidal thoughts. According to CAPS, 25% of students know someone who has lost their life to suicide, and 40% know someone who has attempted.
“When you donate a t-shirt, essentially it means you’re pledging that you are going to help end the stigma towards mental health,” said SGA director of outreach, Jordan Underwood.
Statistics by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reveal that suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. End the Stigma was intended to give victims a sense of reassurance and encouraged them to seek support.
“I think that it’s important that people acknowledge the fact that yes, life isn’t perfect and things do happen,” Underwood said. “It’s okay to ask for help.”
Organizers at SGA said the event received generally positive feedback, and that they plan to continue their campaign to raise awareness with more events in the future.
“It doesn’t stop at End the Stigma,” Luc said. “If we as a community can destigmatize seeking help then we’re headed in the right direction.”