Helping Others by Providing Encouragement, or H.O.P.E., is a new organization created by Krysten Simpson and Jerrilyn Guy — students who both hope to foster a caring and accepting environment.
Because Sept. 10 is National Suicide Prevention Day, H.O.P.E hosted the Providing H.O.P.E. event to provide the YSU community with facts regarding suicide and to show students how to get someone the professional help they may need.
Simpson, co-founder and the president of H.O.P.E, started the organization in the hopes of becoming a university chapter that would be nationally affiliated with To Write Love On Her Arms — a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hope and finding help for those struggling with mental illnesses.
“I wanted H.O.P.E. to exist in an effort to break the stigmas associated with mental illnesses and to give people the message that it’s okay to need help, and they won’t be alone in their journeys,” Simpson said.
The idea to start the organization originated when Simpson was browsing the To Write Love On Her Arms website.
H.O.P.E. is now in the process of becoming a registered affiliate with To Write Love On Her Arms.
Simpson hopes that this organization will be an aid to those suffering from mental illnesses by providing resources, holding fundraisers to invest in treatment, giving people hope and not letting anyone struggle alone.
“I think sometimes what people need most is to know that at least someone will be there throughout our struggles and hard times, and I want H.O.P.E. to provide the message that we will be there,” Simpson said.
As an organization, H.O.P.E. currently has two goals: to become an official affiliate of To Write Love on Her Arms and to educate the YSU community on what To Write Love on Her Arms stands for and what they do.
Guy, vice president and co-founder of H.O.P.E., stated that there’s nothing embarrassing about dealing with mental illness.
“It’s something that many people face throughout their lives,” Guy said. “H.O.P.E. is here to encourage and inspire those individuals to take pride in their strength and seek out professional help.”
As a psychology major, Guy is familiar with these issues.
“I’m very passionate about it. I just want people to know that they’re not alone and that we are here for them. We can’t take on the role of being a counselor because we’re not qualified to do so, but we are qualified to be their friend,” Guy said. “We want students to know that it’s OK to not be OK and sometimes you need to ask for help. Our purpose on campus is to help students realize their purpose and provide them with resources to get them help that they may need.”
Guy stated that the organization wants to present hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, anxiety and suicide.
H.O.P.E. currently has about 20 members and they intend to grow the organization. If students are interested in joining H.O.P.E., they can contact Simpson or Emily Ruminski, the membership director.
Students can join the organization at any time during the school year. The only requirement is that the student is in good standing with the university.
For this upcoming semester, H.O.P.E. plans on hosting social events in which a few different bands will perform as well as an open mic night. Future events are still in the process of being planned.