SHSU works to send silence packing

Photo courtesy of Scott Morris

As October begins, so does mental health awareness month. With this, many groups, entities and schools are working hard to bring awareness to issues that can arise in all facets of life that deal with mental health.

With college campuses, mental health has been a larger discussion in the past few years than ever before. This year, Sam Houston wants to make sure that students know they have the resources and supporting staff to help those in need.

One way the school is bringing awareness to these issues is with the Send Silence Packing Interactive Display and Behind the Backpacks Immersive Exhibit.

During this event, 1,100 backpacks were spread across The Yard with each one representing a life that was lost to suicide along with each story.

“We have about 1,000 backpacks, which really symbolizes the amount of college students and young people under the age of 25 that lose their life to suicide each year,” associate director of the student health center Dr. Shantha Stokes said.

Stokes was one of the people that worked towards putting the event together along with Active Minds, the Honors College and the Student Health Center.

“We are raising awareness about suicide prevention to encourage people that are struggling with suicide to talk but also encourage our community members to check on other community members,” Stokes said.

With this awareness being brought to attention, there are many resources on campus that can be used for people struggling mentally.

“They can access all of the resources by calling 936-294-1720 during the regular business hours,” Stokes said. “There is a counselor that will be available to talk to them. We usually start with a 15-minute phone screen and from there will prescribe whatever kind of service we think is going to be efficient for them.”

With all these resources, there are numerous areas in which the SHC covers when it comes to mental health.

“There is individual counseling, there may be groups for anxiety and depression,” Stokes said. “Some of these groups may have to be signed up for in advance, but a lot of things you can pop into. There are also suicide prevention workshops.”

With all that, Stokes especially pushed for the after hours hotline.

“Monday through Thursday between the hours of 4-9 after our center is closed, we still have help after hours,” Stokes said. “If students need to talk and destress, contemplating suicide, they can dial 936-294-4111 and talk to anyone after hours.”

Mental health can affect anyone at any time and any moment. With that, the resources provided are there to help anyone who is in need not just for the month of October, but year-round as this is an ongoing issue that affects almost everyone in some way, shape or form.

Help Phone Lines

Student Counseling Center: 936-294-1720

After Hours Hotline: 936-294-4111

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

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