Dr. Kim Ann Oliver, Ph.D., LCSW, teaches her students that they have the power to incite change and her introduction to social work class is hosting an event that does just that. This event titled, “Raising Mental Health Awareness: Suicide and Gun Violence Prevention” will take place on Nov. 19 from 7:30-9 p.m. in the Oak Room.
According to Jessica Cammarano ‘19, the class chose panelists they felt would have a better understanding of the social issues surrounding gun violence. The panelists speaking at the event include assistant professor of nursing Dr. Kathryn Phillips Ph.D., an expert on mental health, Dr. Patrick Kelley Ph.D., a distinguished fellow of nursing & health studies, and will be moderated by Dr. Deborah List, Ph.D.
Senior Jordan Mason, another student in Oliver’s class, gave insight into what the event would look like.
“We’ll be having guest speakers, different booths set up, and small events to help educate and initiate a dialogue on this campus about suicide and gun violence, which need to be looked more often within the context of one another as well as within the context of mental health,” said Mason.
Students in Oliver’s class participated in “Start with Hello” week, a week dedicated to raising awareness on social isolation by the Sandy Hook Promise. The Sandy Hook Promise is a national non-profit organization founded and led by several family members of those who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. The week segwayed into a discussion of the connections between mental health awareness and gun violence awareness.
“Our class decided to host an event centered raising social awareness about the mental health aspect at the root of gun violence and suicide, which are far more interconnected than most people realize,” said Cammarano.
Oliver echoed Cammarano’ statements.
“This event was something my students could do — they are looking at what Sandy Hook Promise is doing and trying to spread the word about their programs, they are writing to politicians, and educating themselves about the issues and trying to spread the word that there are things that can be done. Social change can only happen if we all do something,” said Oliver.