According to the World Health Organization, 121 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
A national non-profit organization, To Write Love on Her Arms, is seeking to educate University of South Dakota students about depression, self-injury and suicide during their presentation Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in
Freshman Megan Valandra said the issue of depression, self-injury and suicide has hit close to home.
“It’s changed me as a person because I did lose my friend to suicide,” she said. “It’s something I’m willing to help with and show people with depression, that life is beautiful and depression can be beat.”
The TWLOHA program will be a benefit for USD students, she said.
“They need to know anyone can be affected by depression and how to help a friend find help.”
“Anyone is welcome to attend and it’s free,” said Carly Heard, assistant director of Student Life.
After the event, the group will sell merchandise and will hand out information.
“This event will offer a good experience for students and provide entertainment with education,” Heard said.
The event will open with an introduction video, describing personal experiences with self-injury or suicide and the impacts those issues can have on people’s lives.
“This event is pertinent to campus and students. It helps them learn more about suicide without being afraid,” Heard said.
Since its start in 2006, the group has donated over $850,000 for treatment and recovery. TWLOHA has one of the largest online audiences of any non-profit on both MySpace and Facebook and was recently featured in “Rolling Stone.”
Founder Jamie Tworkowski will be the main speaker for the presentation.
“We’re excited about the opportunities we’re getting to bring the TWLOHA message to universities,” Tworkowski said. “We talk about things that people tend not to talk about, and we’re trying to meet people where they are. With each of these nights, it’s an attempt at an honest conversation, an attempt at introducing the possibilities of hope and help and community. More than anything, we’re trying to let people know that they’re not alone and we’re trying to start a conversation that continues long after we leave town.”
The TWLOHA movement should be familiar to most students on campus,
“Most of the college-age group knows or has heard about this movement, and we are very excited for students to get this opportunity. We are expecting a really good turnout,” Heard said.
Freshman Lindsey Fiegen said it is her favorite non-profit organization.
“It’s about bringing hope to the hopeless,” Fiegen said. “It’s about being someone’s rescue and about showing them they’re worth something to someone.”
Reach reporter Dylan Geuther at Dylan.Geuther@usd.edu.