Captains Work to Aid in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Awareness

Student-driven initiatives help raise awareness in the community.

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Christopher Newport students have launched several initiatives on campus to help raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention.

Mental Health Commission
Paige Long, a psychology major and president of CNU’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has led an effort to establish a Mental Health Commission on campus to identify areas of improvement in existing services and recommend solutions. The commission is made up of seven students and three faculty members.

Matthew Godsoe, Student Assembly executive vice president, explains the mission of the new addition. “The Mental Health Commission will work to provide necessary solutions – whatever those are – to help students not just this year, but year after year,” he says.

“To know that 44 Student Assembly delegates agree that mental health should be a focus this year, and to unanimously vote to pass the proposal that created the Mental Health Commission, was a dream come true,” Long says.

Out of the Darkness Walk
According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death among Americans aged 15 to 24. In order to raise awareness and funds aimed at prevention efforts, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention established the Out of the Darkness Walk. It is a nationwide event where individuals can gather and walk in honor of those who have lost their lives, are suffering or impacted by suicide.

Senior psychology major Meg Hunt gathered a large group of CNU students to participate in the Out of the Darkness Walk in Newport News. After walking last year Hunt wanted others on campus experience it as well. “Everyone faces battles, many of whom we will never know, but the walk is an opportunity to come together as a campus to say ‘we support you, we fight beside you and we will win,’” says Hunt.

A Night for Life
Faculty, staff and family gathered on the Greek Lawn for Delta Upsilon’s a Night for Life event to honor lost friends and raise awareness for suicide prevention.

At this event, the brothers of Delta Upsilon posthumously initiated CNU students Austin Germani and Scott McKellar into their fraternity. “We felt this was a good way to immortalize the bond we formed with them during the time they were with us,” says Bo Sampson, Delta Upsilon’s philanthropy director.

The night was not only a chance to honor the memories of Germani and McKellar, but also to educate the community on the resources available to anyone suffering. “The mission of this event was to bring together the CNU community in solidarity against the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide,” says Sampson.

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