By: Michael Bruckler, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
St. Mary’s City, MD- A St. Mary’s College event, Stomp Out Stigma 5K for Suicide Awareness and Prevention, has been recognized as a 2019 NASPA Outstanding Peer Education Program.
Each year, NASPA/Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education honor some of the best undergraduate peer educators addressing health, safety, and well-being issues on college and university campuses. The Outstanding Peer Education Program awards are given to peer educators that contribute to campus peer education efforts and demonstrate academic successes and leadership.
NASPA was “very proud to recognize St. Mary’s College for exemplary work with peer education this past year.”
Stomp Out Stigma 5K for Suicide Awareness and Prevention has been held annually in the fall for the past six years and is organized by the Peer Health Educators. The main event is an untimed 5K around the campus. As with other races, participants of the 5K wear race bibs – however, the bibs at the Stomp Out Stigma 5K feature statistics related to suicide in our country – an idea Assistant Director of Public Safety Chris Coons came up with several years ago.
Before and after the event, participants can visit one of the tables set up in the registration area to learn about on-campus mental health resources, get a chance to “stomp out a stigma” related to mental health, and get a temporary semicolon tattoo in support of those who have struggled with suicidal ideation.
The event continues to be an opportunity for the campus to come together in support of mental health. Each year, students (including student-athletes), staff, faculty, and community members participate in the event.
Peer Health Educator Fellow Lily Folts ’20 said, “It’s so exciting to be recognized for all the hard work the Peer Health Educators and our supervisor, Emily Lamoreau (SMCM staff therapist), put into the Stomp Out Stigma 5K! Our event wouldn’t be a success without the participation of students, faculty, staff, and community members.”