The Sociology Club sponsored its first presentation and discussion in observance of National Suicide Prevention Month on Thursday with the help of With Hope, the Amber Craig Memorial Foundation, an OC-based suicide prevention organization.
This event, the first of what the club hopes to be an annual tradition, was spearheaded by Sociology Club President Charlene Egizi who became involved with With Hope through its crisis counseling programs after watching her brother commit suicide during a Skype call in 2012.
“September is suicide prevention month and I haven’t seen anything…in any of the fall semesters that I’ve been here,” Egizi said. “The big thing is to get the conversation started, so this was kind of like my baby for the last couple of years because I wanted to get that conversation started and get mental health awareness out there as well.”
Through her involvement in With Hope’s programs, Egizi got to know the foundation’s founder and CEO Annette Craig and invited her to be the key speaker at the suicide prevention event.
“I love to see people that engage and want to learn more and I feel that we’ve educated, equipped, and empowered a college campus,” Craig said. “They’re going to take in that information and it exponentially benefits because they take it into their sphere of influence.”
Craig founded With Hope in memory of her daughter, Amber Craig, who committed suicide in May 2005. Today, the foundation holds a variety of suicide prevention programs and resources targeted toward those who are suicidal as well as their friends and family.
“We felt there was this missing link out there,” Craig said. “There was no support, no education, nobody having this conversation, so what we wanted to do was everything we could to keep another family from feeling like ours and to keep another teen from suffering and feeling like Amber did.”
Approximately 100 people attended the presentation, including Interim Chancellor Fred Williams, Interim President Greg Schulz, and Dean of the Social Sciences Division Kathy Bakhit.
After the Q&A session, Dr. Vanessa Miller, director of health services, provided information and resources about how students can access suicide prevention services on campus, including counseling services.
“You have one body. Why would you treat your mind any differently than you would treat your heart, or your liver, or your kidneys?” Miller said. “If your mind is not working properly, you should treat your mind like you would treat other parts of your body.”
For more information about With Hope, the Amber Craig Memorial Foundation, visit withhopefoundation.org.
For more information about campus health services, visit healthservices.fullcoll.edu.
The Sociology Club meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Room 1429.