Mental health to be discussed at AC event

The organization To Write Love On Her Arms will be coming to Geneseo in the near future to foster discussion on mental illness. Founder Jamie Tworkowski created TWLOHA in order to develop awareness on depression, self-harm, addiction and suicide. His vision grew in 2006 from a MySpace page to a full-blown nonprofit organization, gaining support from musicians within the MySpace community and the readers of his blog.

On the tentative date of Dec. 3, the Geneseo Activities Commission hopes to host Tworkowski to speak on mental health issues. The organization strives to bring aid to those in need and hope to a community of people struggling with these difficult problems.

AC Contemporary Forum Coordinator senior Miles Shadman organized the event in order to bring the speaker to the Geneseo community.

“I’ve noticed on campus that mental health issues are not talked about as much as I expected them to be,” Shadman said. “I wanted to bring someone who would encourage people to talk about it and help people find options if they are struggling.

“There are a bunch of mental health issues [Tworkowski] is going to discuss,” Shadman said. “But mostly his focus will be on depression and suicidal thoughts.”

During the Student Association meeting on Nov. 13, Shadman addressed the plans in further detail, answering previous inquiries on the legitimacy of the event.

In response to curiosity over how the money TWLOHA raises is dispersed, Shadman responded how 85 percent of the funds will go toward charity.

Members of the board further questioned him on where his present funding went.

“I have received funding from [Inter-Residence Council], and I am working with [Residence Life],” he answered.

In a later interview, Shadman described the budget in more detail. Most off the funds are from the contemporary forum budget, but $500 is from IRC and $1,000 from Residence Life.

An official date for the event is currently under debate, as complications in Tworkowski’s schedule may alter the present plan to have him speak on Dec. 3. If not, Shadman said, the date will be pushed to the first or second week of the spring semester.

Regardless of the event’s tentative nature, those on the Student Association executive board showed enthusiasm toward the speaker and the organization.

“I think it’s a great initiative,” SA Vice President senior Katie Becker said. SA Director of Student Programming senior Jenny Keller agreed with Becker’s sentiments.

“We hope you all attend,” she said.

Shadman said he hopes that having the actual founder of the organization as a speaker will encourage student participation, “thus having more people coming out to the event, more people talking about the issue, more people knowing how to handle these situations,” he said. “It will inspire hope for these individuals.”