URI offers awareness program for depression and suicide

KINGSTON, R.I., — November 18, 2004 — The University of Rhode Island will host a program about depression and suicide among college students and young adults on Nov. 22 in the Ballroom of the Memorial Union on the Kingston campus. It is free and open to the public. An interactive display, “Exploring Connections” by Joseph Sawyer, can be viewed at 7 p.m. The speaking program will begin at 8 p.m.

Transitioning from the safe haven of home to the unknown and independence of college can create undue stress for many young people, often leading to depression in students having a difficult time adjusting. Experts estimate as many as 15 percent of college-age young people may have some form of depressive illness.

The program will feature speakers with a personal or professional perspective on the impact of depression and suicide. They are:

• Gary Sawyer will offer a personal story of the impact on his family from the death of his son, Joseph, an artist who suffered from depression and committed suicide at the age of 21.

• Miss Rhode Island 2004, Aimee Belisle, a former sufferer of depression will relate her experience, and discuss the national impact of depression on college students.

• Margaret Howard, clinical assistant professor in the Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior will provide an overview of depressive disorders and their visible symptoms.

• Jane Lindquist, training manager for The Samaritans of Boston, an organization committed to the prevention of suicide will explain the services offered by her organization and how to use them.

The evening is jointly sponsored by the URI Gamma Zeta chapter of the

Phi Sigma Sigma sorority and the University of Rhode Island Counseling Center.