The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The American Foundation for Suicide Pevention

Meet the group that puts mental health first!
Photo provided by Luke Nardone

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention club of Christopher Newport University is dedicated to creating an environment where students can feel comfortable talking about their mental health. 


President of AFSP, Kenna McCarthy, said, “On a college campus, there’s a lot of people who hide their mental health struggles and don’t really feel like there’s a place where they can talk about them. I think it’s important [to] create an environment where people feel comfortable to talk about it.”


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The club aims to make a safe place to talk about suicide and mental health. Luke Nardone, club member, says, “It’s obviously a very sensitive subject. There’s just such a stigma surrounding it. I think one of the strongest things you can do is talk about your own struggles with mental health.”


Vice President Annabelle Dreher said, “I’ve dealt with suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts [and] self harm myself. As a freshman, AFSP really caught my eye…I’m really passionate about sharing my story so that people know that they’re not alone.”


Dreher added she has spoken about her personal experience with suicide and depression at multiple campus events, she loves having people reach out to her and share that they feel less  alone knowing someone else feels the same way they do.


In McCarthy’s mind, this club is a way to feel supported without having to take a bigger step, such as going to therapy. “You’re surrounding yourself with people who have been in the same situations as you [have],” she said.


One of the main goals of the club is to raise money by having fundraising tables. McCarthy adds that in the fall they will sell little pumpkins for $1, and possibly bracelets [or] stickers.”


Some of the things the club does besides raising money, is volunteering to support mental health with the main event being a walk in the spring.


For the walk, “[AFSP] will invite companies like the [CNU] Counseling Center, other resources for mental health, and [people from throughout] the peninsula. Then we all show up at Christopher Newport Hall… people will either speak and give their testimony, or they just are there in support,” McCarthy explained.


During the walk, which is about a mile long, people can wear different colored beads to signify the reason they are participating. Whether they’re here for their own mental health struggles, to support the cause more broadly, or the loss of someone close to them – everyone has a place at this walk.


According to Nardone, the most powerful thing about the whole walk is the turnout. “I feel like since I’ve been here as a freshman…the numbers have just increased more and more. Just seeing the outpouring of support from other people [from all walks of campus life, especially people who are dealing with mental health issues].”


The walk will be held sometime in early April of 2024. Their Instagram is cnu_afsp.



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