Project Semicolon spreads suicide awareness for students

Trojan Outreach, a student-led organization, is spearheading the project at the Troy Campus.

Trojan Outreach, a student-led organization, is spearheading the project at the Troy Campus.

Troy University’s Trojan Outreach is raising suicide awareness with Project Semicolon, which will last the whole of September.

Trojan Outreach is a peer-led education organization within Troy University’s Student Services division where student leaders are committed to promoting and influencing a culture that is focused on health, wellness and safety by empowering and engaging the campus community.

Project Semicolon, a nonprofit organization, was started by Amy Bleuel in 2013 in memory of her father, who committed suicide ten years before. The movement was launched last year on the Troy Campus to spread awareness and encourage those struggling with mental illness.

“Suicide is one of the most common causes of death among college students,” said Morgan “Rose” Williams, the coordinator of Trojan Outreach. “And you can’t really tell who is struggling with mental issues because it’s not obvious and talking about it is a taboo. It’s common next to alcohol related deaths and it could be anybody: your roommate, your friend, or anyone you talk to every other day so it’s important for students to be aware of this.”

Trojan Outreach has designed several programs to promote the movement and also involve students in the project. Last year, students were given semicolon tattoos to show support of people with mental health issues. This year, Trojan Outreach will be sharing statistics of suicide rates and suicide prevention cards to show students how prevalent suicide is.

Williams hopes that students are able to understand how common suicide is among college students.

“One thing that I hope students can take away from this is that it could happen to anybody,” she said. “I want them to see how prevalent suicide is among college students because there are so many things that college students are faced with. They are faced with keeping up in class, financial security and trying to keep up with everything that’s going on around them, especially with things that happen abruptly. I think that when something happens to rock their foundation, it’s going to be hard to keep their life stable.”

She also wants students to understand that Trojan Outreach is there to help them feel safer in college and to know that those struggling with mental health are not alone in whatever they’re going through.

“One of my colleagues told me that with people who think about committing suicide, it’s not that they want to die, it’s just that they don’t want to live anymore and that’s what I hope students are able to take away from the Semicolon Project.”

Troy University’s Student Counseling Center is a certified resource to help students struggling with mental illness. The center is now offering in-person or socially distanced counseling for students who currently take at least one credit hour on the Troy Campus.

For more information on Project Semicolon, follow @trojan_outreach on Instagram.