Supporting Mental Health Awareness Month at Wichita State

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which serves to bring attention to efforts to reduce stigma and promote mental well-being. At Wichita State University, the innovative program Suspenders4Hope is making a significant impact in this critical area.

Suspenders4Hope is a strategic initiative developed at WSU to promote mental health awareness, prevent suicide, substance abuse and sexual violence. Jessica Provines ’01/04/06, assistant vice president for wellness and chief psychologist, helped found the program and said one of the primary goals of it is to change the conversation around mental health.

The suspenders can be found printed on t-shirts sported across WSU’s campus, are filled with words of hope, help-seeking and resilience.

“The suspenders really help reduce stigma and motivate others to get involved,” Provines said. “An evaluation of the program showed that students who are familiar with the campaign are significantly more likely to believe the University cares about their mental health.”

Since 2018, nearly 8,000 people have been trained in the #WeSupportU Preventing Suicide Training that accompanies the suspenders campaign, and Provines’s team has worked hard to expand its reach into the surrounding Wichita community.

Currently, nearly one out of every five adults in the U.S. grapples with mental health challenges, and the opportunities for program impact are significant. Provines and her team at Wichita State are working to expand the program nationally, sharing their insights and hope kits with emergency rooms, businesses and other universities.

To support Mental Health Awareness at WSU, join the campus community in wearing the Suspenders4Hope t-shirt each Friday in May and help begin a conversation of hope.

Give to Suspenders4Hope.

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