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‘Depression Awareness Week’ Aims to Remove Stigma About Seeking Help

Depression Awareness Week, in which a variety of worthwhile activities will be held in hopes of erasing the stigma about asking for help, will be held on Pennsylvania College of Technology’s main campus from Oct. 17-21.

In addition to events an “Out of the Darkness” community walk for suicide awareness and prevention, for one, and two parents’ compelling story of loss and inspiration information tables will be available all week in the lobbies of the Bush Campus Center, the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center, and the Keystone Dining Room.

Sunday

  • The Greater Lycoming County Area ‘Out of the Darkness’ Walk 2 p.m.; walk begins at the Bush Campus Center (check-in and registration 1-2 p.m.)This three-plus mile walk through Williamsport will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The “Out of the Darkness” walk raises money for AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, for its mission to increase national awareness about depression and suicide, and for the foundation’s continued support for survivors of suicide loss. If interested in walking to help AFSP get closer to making suicide prevention a national priority, register online.

Monday

  • Depression Screenings 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; CC, Room 204 (Counseling Services)Penn College Counseling Services will offer free and confidential mental-health assessments. An online assessment also will be available through the Student Health Services portal site.
  • ‘In Honor of Bo Tkach: Under Every Helmet and Hat Is a Child Who Needs Us’ 7:30-8:30 p.m., Penn’s Inn (CC, second floor)Join Jim and Sandy Tkach for an evening in honor of their son, Bo, who ended his life July 20, 2007, at age 25. In his short life, Bo had more accomplishments than some of us will have in a lifetime. Unfortunately, he also struggled with depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Like many mental illnesses, they disrupted his life in ways that others did not see. The couple’s message centers around letting people know that depression is a disease, a serious illness that cannot be cured by waiting it out. Jim and Sandy stress the importance of reaching out for help and not being ashamed to talk to someone if you or someone you know is faced with depression.

Tuesday

  • DORA Training for Penn College Students 3:30-5 p.m.; Madigan Library, Room 221DORA ( Depression Out Reach Alliance) is a peer-based, mental-health wellness and suicide-prevention program for college students. Participants will be trained to offer support to their friends, family and fellow students who may be battling depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Participants will then be encouraged to offer DORA sessions for other students … perhaps other residents in their hall, members of their athletic team, brothers/sisters in their Greek organization or a small group within their major. The goals are to open up conversation about depression, anxiety and suicide; to reduce the stigma on a campuswide basis; and to get help for those students who need it. Please RSVP by Monday, Oct. 18, to Kristi Hammaker in CC, Room 300; at ext. 7621 or by e-mail.

Wednesday

  • Making Sense of Suicide 8 p.m., CC TV Lounge Every 16 minutes, someone in the United States dies by suicide, and every 17 minutes, someone is left to make sense of it. Join Counseling Services to learn more about suicide and support the survivors left behind. Hear personal stories, get the facts, share your own story and learn more. What you learn may help you, a friend or a family member.

Thursday

  • PDT-568: Recognizing and Referring Students in Psychological Distress 3:30-4:30 p.m.; CC, Room 201Depression among college students is an urgent, yet often misunderstood public-health problem. Reports indicate that, in the past 20 years, students reporting depression have doubled and the number of suicidal students has tripled on college campuses. Penn College counselors invite faculty, staff and students to participate in this session that will identify signs of students in crisis, and, more importantly, examine effective interventions.