GC organizations support mental health awareness
“End the relative silence and to talk openly about mental health and suicide.” These were the closing words of Michael Ziblich on March 28 as a part of suicide prevention and awareness week.
Ziblich has spoken at over 20 universities nationwide about mental health and suicide awareness.
Zilblich’s cause is a personal one. In 2012, he lost his son, who was a freshman in college, to suicide.
Nationally, suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students. This past week was suicide prevention and awareness week at GC. Active Minds, To Write Love On Her Arms, Alpha Tau Omega and other organizations tabled, hosted events and promoted their passion for mental health awareness to students.
With her green button pinned over her heart reading “laugh more,” president of Active Minds, Katie Whitaker, shared the importance of the philanthropy.
“Active Minds is about promoting mental health awareness,” Whitaker said. “Throughout the year, we hold fundraisers and hand out different information on how to deal with stress and about the counseling services offered at GC.”
Also supporting the cause is To Write Love On Her Arms, a national organization brought to GC’s campus that helps spread the word about mental health awareness through sharing stories and giving out love letters.
Vice president Caroline Corely has been involved with TWLOHA for two years.
“I am so passionate about To Write Love On Her Arms and mental health itself because many of my friends have experienced depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental illnesses,’ Corely said.
Corely also spoke about why she feels that mental health awareness is important here at GC: “I want to be educated on all the types of mental health and help spread the word throughout campus that if you’re going through something, you’re not alone, and to remember that you are loved.”
Active Minds and TWLOHA partnered with fraternity Alpha Tau Omega for suicide prevention week.
The Will To Live Foundation is Alpha Tau Omega’s philanthropy which was started by a father after his son took his life. The foundation promotes the importance of mental health awareness and delivering hope to those who may need it.
ATO’s Service chair Hayden Spohn said that suicide prevention and awareness is close to the fraternity’s heart because some brothers have dealt closely with this.
“We’re honoring their stories and that has been our mission,” Spohn said.
Active Minds club member Enya Filberg is family friends with the Ziblich family.
“The club stuck out to me because suicide has affected me and my family personally,” Filberg said. “I was interested in getting involved in a new organization on campus, and it seemed so positive.”
During his time speaking to students, Ziblich talked about the typical warning signs that someone may show if they are struggling. Some of these signs include traumatic mood changes, anger, withdrawal, reckless behavior, alcohol or drug use and talking directly about death or suicide.
GC offers free counseling services to students at the wellness center and welcomes anyone to make an appointment. There is also a national lifeline for suicide prevention (see graphic below) that specializes in talking to those who are considering taking their own life and giving them the help they need.
“I can only ask to recognize in ourselves that most shadows in our life are caused by standing in front of our own sunshine,” Ziblich said. “Let us recognize the shadow, and let us step into the light of awareness with courage and commitment and illuminate the pathway of life.”