Rocking and Rolling: SAB’s roller-skating event provided a night of fun for everyone.

Eastern’s Student Activities Board (SAB) is currently composed of 11 students and 3 advisors who are responsible for planning and hosting events for the student body to attend on a weekly basis. This past weekend, we decided to go with a classic event— roller-skating. However, sometimes we cannot do events like this alone. So, we enjoy inviting outside vendors onto campus to share their resources with us. Last Friday, October 22, we welcomed Neon Entertainment of New York to help us bring a night of glow-in-the dark roller-skating to life on the tennis courts for our undergraduate students. Neon has partnered with us on multiple occasions, with roller-skating being our usual joint event. We always look forward to working with them to ensure there is a smooth set-up process and the event is fun and safe for everyone.

While setting up and cleaning up any SAB event may seem easy to some non-members, that is not the case. Like our other events, this event required lots of assembly so that it could happen. However, without a large enough team, the setup process for this specific event could have easily taken up to, or over, 4 hours. To make it happen, the tiles had to be laid down and locked into each other to create the rink. After the event was finished, a specific pattern had to be followed to ensure the tiles were properly stored away for future uses. No matter the amount of work put into an event, it easily pays off when we see the students that attend are having fun after a stressful week.

Entering the tennis court last Friday night was just like entering a classic roller-rink, just outside and maybe a bit less smelly. Immediately off to the right were the skates; freshly cleaned and ready to be worn by the excited students. Neighboring the skates was the snack table, decorated with ice-cold water, hot apple cider, chips, and candy— the college student essentials (Well, at least some staples…). Then of course, the main attraction was situated right behind both tables. Bordered with chairs on three sides and a DJ station, the rink came to life with students, black lights, and music. Admittedly, there was a slow start to the event. Only a few students appeared within the first hour. However, once 7:00 PM came, attendance was no longer a concern. 

Soon, the rink became so full that there was hardly any room for new skaters to join! Despite the tight space, students came and enjoyed themselves for an hour or two, or maybe even the entire four hours! Skaters of all skill levels were there: from those finding their balance to those doing three-sixties as if it were breathing. “I think the high energy of the event made it feel as if midterms weren’t even happening. Everyone was just having a great time”, said Alexis Schenberger, executive chair of SAB. If there is one thing that our event attendees bring, it is definitely energy and good vibes. Sure, the music may have helped, but it was the students that truly brought this event to life. And to us on SAB, that is how we know we have done our job well at the end of each night.

September was Suicide Prevention Month: Members of Eastern’s community reflect on their experiences and opinions regarding suicide, mental health, and more.

The Aftermath: How an uncle’s suicide shapes a young girl

by Gabrielle Pardocchi

My uncle committed suicide when I was nine years old. At least, I think he did. He had been battling with a drug addiction for years, before overdosing in 2008. He had told my grandmother a few months before that he wished he could end his suffering. There was no note. There was no goodbye.

At nine years old, you don’t really understand death, much less suicide. You don’t understand why they won’t be able to have wrestling matches with you anymore or why they won’t be there to play makeover. You just know that they won’t. I didn’t understand what had happened to my uncle until I was much older. I didn’t understand the pain of the world that weighed on him, until I started to feel it myself.

When I finally started to understand what he did, I was angry and confused. I didn’t understand why my uncle couldn’t fight it. I didn’t understand why he just gave in.

The most troubling part of my uncle’s death is that no one really knows if it was an accident or not. My family is split in the middle, believing what they like. As someone who knows people that have experience depression and suicidal thoughts, I don’t believe it was an accident. The pain that some people feel is overwhelming; it feels like it will never stop.

Even after suicide, the pain never does stop. The pain was transferred to my grandparents, my mother, my sister, and I. When a person ends their life, the pain may leave them, but it moves on to those they left behind. Even after eleven years, the pain still weighs in my chest. I have always wondered what life would have been like if my uncle would have stayed to see another day.

Sources: Insider

Systemic Suffering: How the mental health crisis can be seen as a systemic issue going into the election.

By Abigail Brooke

Suicide prevention is challenging and important work. It is crucial that we show up for each other in times of suffering, and that we end the stigma surrounding mental health, and all else that goes into the traditional understanding of caring for mental health. However, the issue is bigger than just the conversations we have.

In order to truly prevent suicide, we as a society must make strides toward systemic change in the ways in which we treat one another and what is expected of us. Common causes of suicide include financial trouble, substance abuse issues, being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and more. Though this list is not exhaustive, it represents many aspects of what can drive people to hopelessness and even suicidal ideation – and they are all fixable.

Ensuring universal access to substance abuse treatment, for example, can save lives. Support for LGBTQIA+ people, both in interpersonal and professional instances, can save lives. Adequate care for the people who are poor or houseless can save lives. Instituting programs and laws that make it easier for people of all walks of life to live saves lives.

Suicide prevention is bigger than being kind to others and sending a caring text. It means thinking outside of yourself and advocating for change that can truly save lives. If you truly want to prevent suicide, work to counteract the issues that drive people to it. Consider the experiences of marginalized people in your voting, donating, and volunteering, as it could save lives.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Coping with Suicidal Thoughts: An Interview with Dr. Lisa Hemlick, director of the Cushing Center

By Megan Schoenleb

According to National Today, “There are an average of 123 suicides each day in this country. It’s the tenth leading cause of death in America — second leading for ages 25-34, and third leading for ages 15-24.” While this is an awful reality, it is perhaps unsurprising; after all, college life is challenging. Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and mental health in general need to be taken seriously – both by college students and the people and institutions that host them.

At Eastern University, the Cushing Center for Counselling and Academic Support (CCAS), located on the third floor of Walton Hall and headed by Director Dr. Lisa Hemlick, provides free counselling. According to Dr. Hemlick in an interview, everyone at CCAS has experience, is hand-picked for each student, and is committed “to help students to function well in the role of the student, and help them get the most out of that experience.” Despite being free, the “Services here are professional counseling services.” For those who have never received counseling before, it can be difficult to take that step.

In my case, I felt like my problems were easy compared to those of others. Dr. Hemlick pointed out that “People feel it’s a sign of weakness, that they need help,” but that “It can be a sign of strength to take care of a problem.” If you are unsure, you can try a session before deciding to commit. Personally, I have received counseling at Eastern for two years and am better for it. When asked what students should do if they are having suicidal thoughts, Dr. Hemlick said that “they should take it seriously and not condemn themselves for having those thoughts.” She also said that “scriptures tell us to shine the light on things… telling someone is the first step to moving on.” For mental health in general, she said to “put your focus on the things you’re doing well.” There is hope, and there is help if you need it. CCAS is only open and on-call from eight-thirty am to five pm. If you are in a crisis outside those hours, please call one of the Hotlines.

Source: National Today

Caring as God Commanded: Understanding the signs of suicidal thoughts, faith, and support.

By Colton Domblesky

It’s never an easy thing to discuss, but with mental health becoming less and less of a priority among college students and young adults, it needs to be discussed. Some of you may have connections with it, whether it’s personal or through a loved one. Either way, the effects are lasting for individuals who have experienced it firsthand or felt the shockwaves of it from another.

To avoid this trauma, we need to be aware of the signs of suicidal thoughts in ourselves and our peers. Suicidal thoughts and tendencies are never the same between individuals. However, there are three general areas in which a peer may express suicidal thoughts: talk, behavior, and mood. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), people expressing suicidal thoughts may talk about how they feel hopeless, like a burden to others, or how they feel trapped. Behaviorally, they may appear withdrawn from certain situations, isolate themselves from others, or increase risky behaviors such as drinking or doing drugs.

Emotionally, suicidal individuals may express a wide variety of emotions like sadness, fear, indifference, or irritability. Suicidal thoughts are not always expressed uniformly; the key is to notice and talk to the person about any vast differences you notice in them.

As Christians, faith can play a major part in our mental well-being and health. In fact, we might think of self-care as turning to scripture, prayer, worship, journaling, or talking to a pastor about our problems. While these are all valid options, they are not the only choices. Self-care is by no means uniform, whether you are a Christian or not. How we pour into ourselves is different from how a friend pours into themselves.

In fact, as a Student Chaplain, I can say that the Student Chaplain Program is an advocate for self-care in any form because we are all unique beings made in the image of God. Whether your self-care looks like praying, worshipping, watching movies, or ordering food, God has your back, and so do we. The Student Chaplains are here for you in your times of need, as it is our job to love you and make sure you are taking care of yourself.

Source: ASFP