Payton Salvaggio | Contributing Writer
The ongoing mental health crisis that continues to plague young adults is a conversation that is frequently had among college officials, but more importantly, college students. Eastern has been working to improve the resources available to students on campus, and to make a difference, four students in the Social Work program have made it their mission to make a difference.
Junior Social Work students Kalagena Sullivan, Isabella Esposito, Payton Salvaggio, and Brittany Vaughn have partnered with the Women’s Center to make mental health resources more readily available to Eastern students. This will be done through a training titled “QPR,” which is designed as suicide prevention training that equips people to question a person about the status of their mental health, persuade that person to get help, and then refer the person to the help they require.
When asked about their action plan and goals for the project, they said the following:
“We are proposing to train clubs and organizations E-Board members of the Eastern community in mental health intervention through QPR training. Our goal is to educate the leaders of our campus community with the resources and skills necessary to make an impact on a student that exhibits signs of a mental health emergency or confides in them about a mental health struggle. Our long-term goal is to eventually institute a policy through SGA that states if you are a President or Vice President of any club/organization on campus, you must participate in QPR training to receive SGA funding.
While in the planning phases of our project, we found out that when a student has a mental health emergency, they are much more likely to consult a fellow student than a professor, counselor, or even a coach. This was when we decided that training student leaders would be the most effective way for the student body to access more resources. Clubs and organizations provide students with a sense of belonging and comfort, and students within clubs and organizations are already confiding in their E-board and fellow club/organization members. QPR training allows for mental health resources to be readily available for students and works to break the stigma surrounding mental health. We hope that this training will save lives and show student leaders how vital mental health conversations are so that clubs and organizations can make space in their meetings to check in with each other.
We have scheduled four QPR training and have invited E-board members of clubs and organizations on campus to attend. However, we would also like to extend the invitation to any student at ECSU that would like to participate in this training. QPR training is a requirement of Resident Assistants and some other leaders on campus. There has been concrete evidence and instances where those who go through QPR training, student leader or not, intervene in mental health emergencies and have saved lives. Training takes an hour and a half, and all students leave with a certification that lasts two years. The lasting impact that trained students to make on others cannot be understated. We invite any interested student to consult the attached poster, Student Government Association, or the Women’s Center for more information. With your help, we can make mental health resources available to every student on campus and make an impact.”