Saturday, January 19, 2019
The Profile

Agnes’ First Suicide Awareness, Protection, and Prevention Group Seeks to Build Community Support for At-Risk Students

Hannah Matthews

Staff Writer

A new peer group called S.A.P.P. (Suicide Awareness, Protection, and Prevention) is being founded this semester by Eman Khwaja ‘20 and Tomiko Jenkins in the Dean of Students office in order to provide a source of education and support for the Agnes Scott community.

“As Scotties, we pride ourselves on supporting each other, making everyone feel safe, and being a close-knit community,” said Khwaja. “S.A.P.P. builds on the importance of supporting each other to raise awareness and prevent suicide at Agnes Scott.”

After Khwaja had a close friend attempt suicide, she was driven to find S.A.P.P., especially since there is nothing similar on campus.

“This experience made me realize how many factors can push students toward suicide on campus, from the stress of school, to being away from family, to bullying,” said Khwaja. “After my friend’s attempt, I also realized that there were no programs on campus that raised awareness about or supported those contemplating suicide.”

Before S.A.P.P., the wellness center was the only source of suicide prevention information on campus. S.A.P.P. hopes to change that.

“The research shows the power of peer-to-peer work,” said Jenkins. “It’s on all of us. It’s community based.”

In addition to the larger goals of suicide awareness, protection, and prevention, the group has other short term goals to accomplish this semester.

“By the end of the semester, I would like to find a dedicated group of students that are willing to help and come up with a plan for progress next semester,” said Khwaja.

Next semester, members can look forward to federally supported training for mental illness by the Department of Behavioral Health and to planning for September’s National Suicide Prevention Week.

Students can help this club by attending the first meeting April 24 at 5 p.m. in Alston 206.  

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