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CAPS Michigan Theater event inspires suicide awareness

Terra Molengraff/Daily
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By Alyssa Brandon, For the Daily
Published April 8, 2014

Various University student groups entertained a crowded Michigan Theater Tuesday night with powerful performances through song, dance and spoken word in the showcase “We Can All Change the Story: A Celebration of Hope.”

The Counseling and Psychological Services Student Advisory board collaborated with Central Student Government to develop an event to advocate for the end of student suicides at the University.

As attendees walked through the doors of Michigan Theater, they were met with dozens of CSG and CAPS staff members passing out wristbands, postcards and free pizza. CAPS also had a booth where students could write encouraging words on wooden tiles to hang around campus.

LSA senior Carolina Rayzel, who is a member of CSG’s Health Issues Commission and served as a member of the planning committee for the showcase, said the event aimed to educate students about psychological services available at the University.

“We hope this event will start a dialogue about the student suicide issue on campus, as well as bring an awareness to the different resources for mental health that are available on campus,” she said before the start of the program.

The showcase featured local artist YRLK performing his original guitar compositions and Music, Theatre & Dance graduate students Jonathan Hulting-Cohen and Jennifer R. Ellis playing the musical piece, “Moments of Hope” on clarinet and harp. The event also included LSA junior Madelyn Grant and LSA senior Joshua Ross who sung renditions of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” and Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

Hosted by radio host John Bommarito from Ann Arbor’s 107one, he told guests about his own battles with depression. Former Michigan football player Will Heininger and Miss Michigan Haley Williams also discussed their experiences with mental health concerns.

Williams spoke of how losing her father at the age of four took a toll on her mental health throughout her childhood. She said her past is what inspired her to build her platform goals as Miss Michigan to address childhood grief.

The showcase ended with a call for University students to work together to end student suicide on campus. Engineering sophomore Shannon Guo, a member of CSG’s Health Issues Commission, said suicide and other mental health issues are difficult to talk about, but discussing it is crucial to finding solutions.

“Hopefully, with our program we can build a strong platform, and we can all work together to help people to help others,” she said.

Beyond the event itself, CAPS also encouraged students to continue the conversation about student suicide prevention through the Twitter hashtag #WeCanAllChangeTheStory.


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