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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

March 28, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Suicide prevention campaign inspires students

Last month, my fellow Ithaca College students and I took a stand to help prevent suicide through the “My Reason For Living” project, on campus initiative to highlight the services available through the Tompkins County’s Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services.

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Senior Carly Herschman created the “My Reason for Living” project that asked students to share their reasons for living to help prevent suicide. Courtesy of Carly Herschman.

I recently began interning with SPCS, where I help run the Facebook and Twitter pages and find ways to raise awareness about suicide prevention services in the community. SPCS’ mission is to promote constructive responses to crisis and trauma and to prevent violence to self and others through direct support and community education.
Since interning at SPCS, I have become more conscious of the statistics on suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 36,000 Americans died by suicide in 2009. These numbers are alarming and encouraged me to actively work to make some kind of a difference. In brainstorming ideas, I thought of “My Reason For Living,” which would be to encourage the college community to share some of their reasons for living. No one can give a person a reason to live, but shedding light on some of the many amazing things that life has to offer is a nice gesture.
I am the vice president of the Student Psychology Association, and when I pitched “My Reason for Living,” the group was more than happy to help and eager to get started. SPA began thinking of ways to do the campaign and reached out to another club on campus, To Write Love on Her Arms. TWLOHA’s mission is to give people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide hope. Together, we ended up with more than 85 submissions from people around the college who were willing to be photographed holding their “reason for living” written on a piece of paper. Some of the reasons were funny, like “cookie dough ice cream,” while others were serious, such as, “to achieve everything the world has to offer me.”  The pictures were posted on SPCS’ Facebook page. The papers from “My Reason For Living” are being compiled and will be put on display in Williams Hall late next week.
SPA and TWLOHA were both actively involved with this project, and together the clubs helped raise awareness of suicide prevention and the services SPCS of Tompkins County has to offer. The Ithaca community was kind enough to share some of their reasons for living, and together we can all make a difference.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please take advantage of the services SPCS has to offer. There are so many reasons for living; some people just need help realizing what their reason is.