SJUOK? launches for suicide prevention

A new campaign on campus aims to destigmatize mental illnesses during fundraiser



Characters of the new SJUOK? From left to right, Ned, jacob, Bella, Katie, Rob, Max and Andrea. Each character is meant to represent a different emotion and give a face to it.

Bryant Rodriguez, Opinion Editor

The Office of Student Wellness will host its 2nd Annual Suicide Prevention Walk on the Great Lawn on Oct. 6 during common hour. The walk coincides with the launch of SJUOK?, a new campaign that aims to destigmatize mental illness and prevent suicide.

Student Wellness has partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. To participate in the event, you must register. Interested participants can register online at, or they can register on site.

The registration fee is $1 and all proceeds will go to the Foundation. Student Wellness has set a fundraising goal of $1,000. For this donation, participants will receive a free fruit-infuser water bottle.

This water bottle will be used during the event held at the Great Lawn. Tables will be set up along the route of the walk where participants can pick up information about the characters and issues involing mental health as well as flyers on how to help students in need. Different fruits for the water bottle will be provided at each table as well.

“A big reason people don’t seek help is because of the stigma surrounding mental health,” said Dr. Luis Manzo, Director of Student Wellness. “So this campaign is a way to normalize those emotions.”

The introduction of these new characters is a way to achieve this. By assigning emotions to characters, it can lessen the stigma associated with an emotion.

The SJUOK? campaign and its characters were designed by student graphic arts majors, including Rebecca Brooker, Idalea Cinquemani, Benjamin Hunt, Elizabeth Kohler and Michael Lagattuta who were under the advisement of Prof. Aaris Sherin, an Assistant Chairperson in the Department of Art and Design.

“The characters will help identify and acknowledge situations felt by college students on a daily basis,” an informational flyer regarding the campaign stated.

If you are in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255).