Pie Kappa Delta Phi for suicide prevention

OSWEGO, N.Y.-  Adolescent suicide has increased since the start of the pandemic. Experts say one of the barriers that people face when trying to seek help is stigma. 

Many people who face mental health issues don’t feel like they have anyone that they can talk to, which can prevent them from getting the help they need. 

Youth suicide rates increased during the pandemic during a time where the CDC says suicide rates for all ages have decreased.

John Ackerman works for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“Clearly a lot of young people are struggling,” Ackerman said.

He says on of the key things someone can do is reach out for help through counseling, family, or friends.

Many people don’t have access to professional mental health resources, or are afraid to speak about their struggles.

Student activists at SUNY Oswego are trying to tear down this mental health barrier.

Brigid Burke is the philanthropy chair of Kappa Delta Phi at SUNY Oswego. 

“I think that a lot of people have trouble talking about the issue because it’s such a touchy subject, and especially mental health in general. People don’t like to talk about their feelings so having them throw pies at our faces makes it more enjoyable and easier to talk about,” Burke said.

The sorority is getting pied in the face to help raise awareness and provide an open, lighthearted environment to discuss an otherwise heavy topic, which Burke says is a crucial first step.

“So many people suffer in silence, and the more we choose to ignore the issue, the worse it’s going to get,” Burke said.

Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be an uncomfortable conversation, but experts have a recommendation for parents concerned about their children: be open and direct.

“Have you ever thought of ending your life? Are you thinking about suicide right now? Often they will feel relieved that an adult has asked that question,” Ackerman said.