Suicide prevention fundraiser surpasses goal, looks to future

Kelly Byer

University collected money throughout October for the cause

The Office of Safety and Security raised $1,220 during October for its suicide prevention fundraiser, exceeding its $1,000 goal.

On Friday, the office gave the money raised to the Suicide Prevention Coalition, which is part of Portage County’s Mental Health and Recovery Board.

“Financially, it did meet our expectations,” said Zaki Hazou, assistant security manager for Residence Services. But Hazou said he would like to reach out to more students in the future.

“We did get a positive feedback, but I think there are a lot of lessons that I learned on how to improve things for next year when we do this again,” Hazou said.

Campus Security aides distributed information and spoke in classes about suicide prevention as part of this year’s fundraiser.

In the future, Hazou said he would like to send out a mass e-mail to students, involve more organizations like the Suicide Prevention Coalition and improve the informational meeting about suicide prevention.

Hazou said the 15 people who came to the Oct. 19 session provided encouraging feedback and also helped the fundraiser financially.

“Since it was positive, I think next semester we will get maybe the suicide coalition more involved, maybe the Mental Health Recovery Board or someone from Townhall II to come in and speak about it,” he said.

Hazou said Campus Security is evaluating the program and deciding how to improve it.

“We would really like to hear feedback from the students, see what the students are interested in learning about,” Hazou said, adding they may distribute a survey to students in upcoming months.

Joel Mowrey of the Mental Health and Recovery Board said the fundraiser has helped its mission to increase the awareness of depression and suicide.

“I think it really does help with connecting, especially between the university and the rest of the community,” he said.

Mowrey has invited Hazou and other campus security members to attend the board’s meetings and said he plans to help with the next fundraiser, perhaps using the money the board received from Kent State to fund pamphlets or bring speakers to campus.

“At this point, hopefully now we’re forming a partnership, a closer partnership, with Kent State and our coalition,” Mowrey said.

Contact safety reporter Kelly Byer at [email protected].