By Daniel Cruse — 

Talking about any sort of mental health or mentioning suicide carries a stigma that makes it very difficult for some people to feel comfortable opening up about them. U of L’s Mental and Physical Health Committee aims to change that on our campus.

The committee hosted #EndTheStigma on Sept. 19 in the SAC Ballroom.

“The purpose of the event is to contemplate and discuss the stigmas surrounding mental health and suicide while also celebrating life and being hopeful about helping others,” said Jaison Gardner, a co-host for the event, alongside Pan-African Studies professor Kaila Story.

Suicide is an epidemic that for many people goes largely unaddressed.

“Suicide rates have doubled in the last ten years, and this is especially the case for our demographic of college aged Americans,” event organizer Bayley Amburgey said.

The event opened up the floor for planned speakers, musical performances and a workshop to encourage people sharing their stories and lifting up their fellow Cardinal students.

The Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theatre performed a medley from the musical Spring Awakening as well as a song from last year’s “Dear Evan Hansen.” Both shows deal with suicide and mental health.

Local R&B singer Delmar James also came to perform his single “Seasons,” which also dealt with similar themes.

A storytelling workshop and a brief activity allowed the attendees to look for ways to lift each other up on campus.

Depression, one of the most common mental health disorders, is also one of the most overlooked. Events like #EndTheStigma are uplifting for young people who live with mental health disorders as they put a spotlight on continuously having genuine, open discussions.

“It was very eye opening and I hope that I can help lift people up who may be struggling with these issues,” freshman Caroline Dew said.

Graphic by Arry Schofield / The Louisville Cardinal