Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast releases balloons in memory of suicide victims

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Students join Counseling and Disability Services personnel to release balloons Friday on the steps of Academic Hall, Friday, Sept. 13 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

With their necks craned back, and hands shading their eyes, the crowd stood in solemn silence and for a moment everyone forgot about the heat and just watched the balloons fly away.

Students joined Counseling and Disability Services staff members in the release of eco-friendly, dove shaped balloons, closing out suicide prevention week.

The event was held as a symbolic gesture in support of those who may be struggling with mental illness and in memory of those who have died by suicide.

The balloon release took place Friday, Sept. 13, on the steps of Academic Hall, wrapping up a week of events designed to engage the student body in suicide prevention.

The week kicked off Monday, Sept. 9, with a social media campaign designed to spread the word about the upcoming activities.

On Tuesday, the University Center hosted the Mental Health and Wellness Fair, connecting students with university and community mental health organizations. Depression screenings were provided by the Counselor Education Training Clinic and Counseling and Disability Services, all of which were completely free and confidential.

Students in the University Center on Wednesday were provided with materials to build their own de-stress kit to promote wellness awareness and healthy coping practices.

Ask, Listen, Refer, a statewide suicide prevention training program, held pop-up shops Wednesday and Thursday, educating students on the warning signs of mental illness and how to assist those in need.

The EPIC PALS Program visited campus Thursday, providing students the chance to hang out and decompress with the organization’s dogs.

“The goal of suicide prevention and awareness week is to create an ongoing, open dialog about risk factors and warning signs for suicide and reduce the stigma associated with seeking support for mental health concerns,” said Torie Grogan, a Counselor with Counseling and Disability Services on campus.

Counseling and Disability Services can be contacted at (573) 986-6191 or by visiting their new location in Crisp Hall. After-hours crisis services on campus are provided by the Department of Public Safety and can be reached at (573) 651-2215.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK.