University implements wellness initiatives

The letter was signed by Vice President of Student Affairs Winston Crisp and USC Student Health Chief Health Office Sarah Van Orman.  (Daily Trojan file photo)

The Office of Student Affairs announced a mental health awareness initiative to provide wellness and self-harm education and prevention methods. The announcement sent to the University community Monday comes at the start of National Suicide Prevention Week.

The letter, signed by Vice President of Student Affairs Winston Crisp and Student Health Chief Health Officer Sarah Van Orman, presents on-campus mental health awareness activities.

It comes shortly after two students died by suicide last week and one student died following a vehicle collision during Welcome Week. 

“While suicide impacts far too many people, evidence shows that taking steps such as providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self-harm, and following up with loved ones works,” the letter read. 

The initiative encourages the community to engage in these efforts to aid in suicide prevention and build a better understanding of mental health issues, the letter read. 

“This is an important time to remember those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and offer hope,” it read.

The initiative also incorporates weekly on-campus mental health activities to promote well-being. One of these activities includes Trousdale Outreach and Awareness, a joint effort between Outreach and Mental Health Services and Undergraduate Student Government to provide mental health information and a space for students to connect with others dealing with trauma. The week includes discussions with clinical professionals and  opportunities for students to participate in stress-reduction activities and personal skill-building.

Along with these activities, students can contact USC Student Health to request and organize campus workshops that emphasize mental health awareness and well-being.

The letter also introduced the #BeThe1To campaign as another source of mental health education. Created by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the #BeThe1To campaign is a five-step approach students can use to reach out and assist others contemplating suicide. The campaign stresses interpersonal contact, support of others and connection to external mental health resources.

Crisp and Van Orman also acknowledged the impact that recent campus deaths have had on the community, and encouraged those seeking help to reach out to Student Affairs and USC Student Health.

“If you’re hurting for any reason, we want to meet with you. Please know that no one has to struggle alone; we are here for you,” they wrote. “Reaching out for support shows a person’s tremendous strength and courage.” 

Students dealing with mental health concerns can walk in to USC Student Health centers or contact the 24/7 phone line (213) 740-9355 for professional assistance. Faculty and staff members can reach out to the Center for Work and Family Life at (213) 821-0800. Students, faculty and staff members concerned about a fellow Trojan can notify Trojans Care 4 Trojans online or by calling (213) 740-0411.