Saturday, June 24, 2017

“Nine Out of Ten” Peer Program: Let’s Talk Suicide

MELISSA MAFFEO ’18

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 10-24. Together, we can prevent it. Marisa and Ernie Porco founded the Jordan Porco Foundation in 2011 after their son Jordan died by suicide during his freshman year of college. The Jordan Porco Foundation has successfully brought their signature program, “Fresh Check Day,” to colleges in 30 states across the country. In addition to educating about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, their programs confront the stigma surrounding suicide in order to create open conversations about mental health. Recently, they have started piloting a peer ambassador program, “Nine out of Ten,” which is designed to spark discussions about suicide on campus. Based on the statistic that one in ten college students contemplates suicide, the program shows that at any time, nine students are able to help that one who is struggling. “Nine Out of Ten” helps students recognize warning signs of suicide and urges them to support a friend or any student who is struggling with mental health.

Friends are often the first to know if someone is contemplating suicide. Two out of three college students who consider suicide tell a friend first. The ambassador program encourages students to make mental health a typical conversation on campus, so if there is an issue, everyone is more likely to feel comfortable and safe discussing it. As ambassadors, students organize at least one pledge campaign activity, one fundraiser, and one education or awareness activity during the academic year, and are awarded points for each activity completed. Activities may include social media posts, writing blogs and articles, organizing on-campus events, or participating in other programs sponsored by the Jordan Porco Foundation.

The Trinity College Counseling Center and Health Center provide services for enrolled students and offer online resources for mental health. Beginning next semester, “Nine Out of Ten” ambassadors will start running activities at Trinity. As students, we have an important role to play in preventing suicide. We need to openly talk about mental health. We need to ask our roommates about their day, encourage our friends to share their concerns with each other, and support our teammates on and off the field. The “Nine Out of Ten” program is a great way to help us start to make those difficult conversations a little easier.

If you are interested in joining the effort to prevent suicide and reduce the stigma around mental health, you can be one of the first ambassadors of the “Nine Out of Ten” program for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Please contact Melissa Maffeo at melissa.maffeo@trincoll.edu for more information. To learn more about Nine out of Ten, visit www.nineoutoften.org.

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