College can be a stressful environment for every college student, which explains why 1 out of 4 ETSU students report having moderate to severe depression, according to statistics gathered by the ETSU Counseling Center.
THRIVE, a program set up by ETSU’s Counseling Center, helps students teach suicide prevention awareness and is committed to reducing the risk of suicide and violence on campus for students, faculty and staff.
“It’s not enough to just prevent suicide and violence, but it’s awesome and a huge part of what we do,” said Molly Cleek, who is a graduate assistant at the counseling center. “It’s more than just surviving. It’s thriving.”
THRIVE is usually busy throughout the year working with various organizations on awareness and prevention events, whether it is HEROES for Transgender Remembrance Day or To Write Love On Her Arms for Survivors of Suicide.
“We have a lot this semester that we plan to do,” Cleek said. “We’ll be a part of the video challenge for Civility Week and want people to submit PSA’s or sketches involving five different ways we think people can dare to care by bystander prevention such as eating disorders, micro aggressions, suicide prevention, anti-bullying and drug use.”
Beth Evelyn Barber, who is the THRIVE Program Coordinator, said the theme for their table at the Dare to Care tabling event will be “Ask, Listen and Refer.”
“It’s okay to ask and be direct with your friend if they are having suicidal or depressing thoughts and getting them to someone who can help,” Barber said. “We’re not asking that everyone out there be a therapist, but knowing where to refer your friend and getting them to help by walking with them to the Counseling Center and waiting with them can make a huge difference and be very relieving for them.”
THRIVE also plans to host a Stress Less Day on April 14 at the Pedestrian Mall near the Amphitheater from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. involving several organizations with information and activities on stress reduction.
“With graduation and finals coming up, students have a lot of stressful events happening,” Cleek said. “We plan to have snacks, yoga with Kim Bushore-Maki at 11, adult coloring and several others things that we have had success with in the past.”
According to Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, “As of 2014, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 10 through 19 in Tennessee, with one person in this age group lost to suicide every week.”
“For all of our faculty, staff and students, if they are ever concerned about another person on campus, they can always file a care report which is reviewed by the dean of students who determines whether they should sit down with a student who might need help with connecting to the counseling center,” Barber said. “It’s really about caring, and it’s not a punishment at all because we care about all of students.”
Barber and Cleek also highly suggest that students, faculty and staff visit AskListenRefer.org to undergo a 15 minute training to learn more about warning signs and responses to those who might be at risk.
For those who wish to learn more about THRIVE or get access to a helpline, visit the Counseling Center’s website or call (423) 439-4841 for the Bucs Press 2 Mental Helpline.