Memorial foundation spreads awareness for suicide prevention with kickball

Carlynn Hickenbotham

The Brian L. Harlan Endowment, a program aimed at promoting suicide prevention, is hosting its third annual kickball tournament this weekend as a part of Suicide Prevention Week.

The event aims to get students actively involved in and aware of mental health topics and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Clark Field.

Giovanna McMahon, a Spanish and public relations junior, said she suffers from anxiety and has taken advantage of some of the services offered to her by the Counseling and Mental Health Center before, but not many students utilize the center.

“I think [it’s] a good resource,” McMahon said. “But do I think that all students are taking advantage of it? Not necessarily.”

Deirdre Smith, an art history graduate student who has volunteered at the Crisis Text Line and has used the services provided by the center, said more promotional efforts could be made by the University to inform students about the initiatives they have to try to promote mental health awareness. 

“I think that UT could probably do a better job,” Smith said. “I thought that the counselors were great. I got really good support there, but maybe there could be more to promote that and have more appointments available and things like that.”

Sociology junior Syed Shahzar Ahmed said many students are unaware of the help available to them.

“[The counselors at the CMHC] are a very necessary resource that I don’t think a lot of college students either know about or use,” Ahmed said.

Geography junior Kiara Hays said she did not know about Suicide Prevention Week, but she was informed during her freshman orientation about the different kinds of services available at the center.

“I’ve never personally used [the CMHC], so I can’t attest to the quality, but I definitely think that it’s a good thing to have in place for someone that is at risk,” Hays said. 

Marian Trattner, suicide prevention coordinator for the Counseling and Mental Health Center and the coordinator for the event, said the event would be a “fun way to get students excited about suicide prevention” and that she hopes to spread the word as much as possible across campus. 

“We make a really serious effort to promote Suicide Prevention Week to students,” Trattner said. “This year, our theme is ‘Connect to Care.’”