UMKC students had the opportunity to explore ways to prevent suicide with the help of UMKC for National Suicide Prevention month.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness club (NAMI), in partnership with To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), held an information table in the Student Union to raise awareness for suicide prevention last week, providing resources for students and asking them to think about how they can make today better.
NAMI frequently partners with TWLOHA for these events because of its reach and ability to target students.
The table included papers with prompts like “I Make Today Better…” to encourage positivity and stimulate conversation on specific things students do to improve their days. The hosts also provided information on counseling available at little to no cost to students.
Many students engaged with the table, writing suggestions like “eating yummy food” and “talking to my therapist” to make the day better.
Aneva Jefferson, NAMI member and Psychology Club president, offered important insight about NAMI and the message it wishes to send to students. The UMKC senior has helped host multiple events with NAMI in the past.
Jefferson said NAMI’s goal is to increase awareness about mental health in a way that is relatable and unintimidating to students. She also wants students to be aware of the resources available to them, even if they might not necessarily need them right now. Jefferson emphasized the importance of focusing on the positive aspects of mental health and taking time to be grateful and do kind things for ourselves.
Lexi Moore, another NAMI member and second-year pharmacy student, was impressed with the event’s turnout and said many students took advantage of the table.
In addition to its monthly meetings, NAMI has hosted a 5k at Loose Park and sent encouraging letters to students during finals week. NAMI tries to make the events social to encourage student involvement.
If you would like to know more information or how to get involved with NAMI, its next meeting is Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. in the Student Union.
Counseling is provided through the UMKC School of Education’s Community Counseling and Assessment Services. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, know there are many options available. 1-800-273-8255 is the Suicide Hotline’s number.