TCU is now officially affiliated with To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), a nonprofit organization aimed at preventing and bringing awareness about suicide, depression and self-injury to the public.
Students Kaitlyn Turney, Lauren Blassberg and Laura Donnelly were the driving force behind bringing the organization to campus.
Donnelly, a junior political science major, attributed most of the success for bringing TWLOHA to TCU to Turney.
The organization created UChapters in 2009, which are university-based extensions to help promote the message of suicide prevention. Donnelly said the students attended a summer conference for two weeks in Austin in order for TCU to become affiliated with the organization.
“[The UChapters] have been really successful, so we thought, ‘Hey, maybe it could work here,’” she said.
TWLOHA began in the spring of 2006 when a group of friends were trying to help another get through a difficult time with depression and addiction. According to the group’s website, they started selling t-shirts as a way to pay for their friend’s treatment.
The group began to gain recognition after members of the band Switchfoot wore TWLOHA shirts during a concert.
“With all the stress of college, I think it’s great they’re coming to a college campus to talk about their cause,” Kelsey Goodwin, a first-year pre-major, said.
Knowledge about TWLOHA and its message varied among students, but those who knew about the organization said they loved the idea of TWLOHA being on campus.
“It’s something that everyone needs to be aware of, just that we can all be supportive, and that kind of takes one more step to making TCU a community,” first-year religion major Kendall Gilfillan said.
In the past two years, the TCU community has experienced four suicides.
First-year business major Shane Essert said some of his friends have committed suicide, and it was something that has deeply affected his life.
“It’s kind of tragic, people that you’re so close to and love, you don’t understand why they don’t think their life is worth living,” he said. “But you need to know there’s people there for you.”
The exact date for the first TWLOHA TCU chapter meeting has not been set, Donnelly said students could expect it to happen late September or early October.