By Jessica Kisling —

A majority of colleges and universities offer resources or programs to help students struggling with mental health and suicidal thoughts. The University of Louisville is no exception with their Cards Suicide Prevention, Education, Awareness, Knowledge (SPEAK) program that was established in 2015.

Cards SPEAK partners with the Dean of Students, counseling center and the psychology department to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the university’s students. “We want to enlist students, faculty, and staff to help each other,” said student care manager Geri Morgan. “[We want to] equip students with the knowledge to help.”

“Cards SPEAK increases U of L’s capacity to offer a coordinated and culturally competent campus message to increase the U of L community’s overall mental health awareness, with an emphasis on suicide prevention,” states their website.

Cards SPEAK is located on the third floor of the SAC and is open Monday through Friday to aid students through grief, recovery and other struggles. They also work with the family and friends of students on knowing how to handle these circumstances.

The program offers an online course, Kognito, and workshops for students. These online sessions teach the students how to promote mental health and possibly prevent someone from committing suicide and taking their life.

Another goal of the program is to establish a safety plan to cope before you have suicidal thoughts, according to graduate assistant Katie Watterson. Cards SPEAK is looking to get rid of the stigma that surrounds the topic of suicide as well.

If students know their resources and have ways to deal with these situations, it allows them to help their peers and friends. The program also makes sure to check back in with everyone who comes to see them to ensure the students are doing okay.

According the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 34 in America.

Cards SPEAK exists in order to help the students of the university and to make sure they are mentally healthy, however they are not open 24/7 and are not a crisis line. They urge that if you or a loved one is considering suicide, please contact the national suicide crisis line at 1-800-273-8255.

Graphic By Alexis Simon / The Louisville Cardinal