School can often be overwhelming.
While students may know of resources on campus, like the Center for Health and Counseling (CHC), most are not guided towards them or don’t know where to start. This can lead students to make decisions like dropping out instead of reaching out for help.
To help raise awareness of on-campus resources and in honor of Suicide Awareness Month, the CHC and ePortfolio Coordinator Kemone Feleti organized a crafting event this past Monday called “You Matter.” For an afternoon in the ePortfolio office, SLCC students crafted paper cranes while staff from various campus centers came to speak about programs available to students.
“We don’t hold the definition of a crisis – you do,” said Robert Spencer, coordinator for SafeUT, a crisis outreach program at the University of Utah.
The “You Matter” event was inspired by Emily Thompson, ePortfolio manager at Taylorsville Redwood Campus, who, on days when she needs extra support, wears paper crane earrings as a signal to her team. This idea came from her early experiences with mental health, during the time that her father was teaching overseas in Japan. Upon his return, his class sent home with him the paper cranes they had made in an act of solidarity.
Spencer from SafeUT discussed the importance of recognizing indicators in our peers that could signal they are struggling with their mental health. He also mentioned the SafeUT app, a tool that helps students and educators connect with licensed professionals simply by using their smart phones.
The crafted paper cranes, which served as a “physical manifestation” of support for students who may feel alone, are currently displayed in the Taylorsville Redwood ePortfolio office. With approximately 500 cranes already made and an aim to reach 1,000 by the end of the month, organizer Feleti hopes to have the display become a permanent piece.
“SLCC is a community college, and we need to show a little bit more community to our students who are struggling so that they do know that they belong here,” Feleti said.
Thompson said she hopes to keep “building momentum” by having this event become a yearly one. “Even if we impact one student, it’s worth it,” she said.
Students Milo Brimhall, Annabel Valdez and Gracyn Araiza from Innovations Early College High School, which operates at South City Campus, said that these events help students know they aren’t alone and that issues like these aren’t “getting pushed aside.”
Mental health resources at SLCC include counseling, walk-in crisis support, medication management, and assessments that help with documentation for disability resources. These resources can be found at the CHC, which operates at the South City, Taylorsville Redwood and Jordan campuses.
For more information, to schedule an appointment, or to keep up to date with events hosted by the CHC, visit slcc.edu/chc. To learn more about online counseling available to SLCC students, staff and faculty, visit safeut.org.