TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Stillman College Office of Student Development is partnering with the Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center for a unique event to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
“Stomp Out Suicide,” a step show on Stillman’s campus, will be held Tuesday, Sept. 20. The public is invited to attend Stomp Out Suicide, where community health and wellness agencies will be on hand to engage attendees. While Stillman Greeks are stepping, VA support programs such as the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program, Suicide Prevention, Whole Health, and VITAL, will provide information to students and the surrounding community.
Tuscaloosa-born comedian Lamar Pullom, who recently performed at the iconic Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, will host Stomp Out Suicide.
Stillman Director of Student Development Tomalisa Washington said she is both excited to have Pullom as host and eager for Stillman student leaders to participate.
Washington noted that Stomp Out Suicide is a creative way to highlight the increasing rates of suicide in the country. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the overall age-adjusted suicide death in the U.S. increased from 12.3 to 13.5 per 100,000 people between 2011 and 2020.
Washington said students need to know someone cares about them.
“Some people really do believe that no one cares, and that’s totally not true,” Washington said. “So [we want to use] whatever fun, creative way that we can to make sure that students just know – ‘we care.’”
Washington encourages the Tuscaloosa community to attend Stomp Out Suicide, not just to have fun and support Stillman, but for the opportunity to learn more about suicide ideation and prevention.
“All of us probably know somebody who either has committed suicide or has thought about it,” she said. “So that’s what we want to try to alleviate.”
The Office of Student Development has hosted a variety of events focused on student health and wellness, including Take a Swing into Mental Health, The Denzel Davis Memorial Health Fair, and, last week, a seminar to educate students on monkeypox. The Office of Student Development has other on-campus options available to support students in multiple ways.
Washington would like students to know the office of student development handles “students’ accommodations for health and academic-related issues.” The office “provides services to students in distress,” such as having wellness checks for mental health and counseling.
When the office deals with a student’s physical health issues, Washington said they “schedule student medical appointments and oversee student health databases.” Most of these are outsourced to Stillman partners, like Maude Whatley Health Services and Alabama Department of Public Health, to coordinate COVID-19 vaccinations.