Cuesta College is tackling the topic of suicide prevention with a week full of events and resources at both the San Luis Obispo and North County campuses. The college’s Student Mental Health Program, along with the student-run Active Minds Club, is organizing the 2013 Suicide Prevention Week, scheduled for Sept. 9th – 12th. It will be open to the public.

“Silence and stigma are what prevent many people from getting help when they need it the most,” said Cuesta College Wellness Arts Program Coordinator Kelsey Kehoe. “We hope to break the silence and stomp out the stigma so our students know that help is available.”

All week long, a 1,100 Black Flags Exhibit will be on display near the SLO Campus flagpole and in the Ernst Courtyard on the North County Campus. The flags will represent the number of college-age students who commit suicide each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among that demographic.

The Student Mental Health Program will also debut a film, recently created by the program itself that will provide information on the resources available at Cuesta College, testimonials from students and support from the Cuesta College Student Health Center therapist. The film can also be viewed on the Cuesta College website, www.cuesta.edu.

Monday, Sept. 9th, North County Campus, Paso Robles:

Film showing of “The Truth About Suicide” and “Cuesta College Mental Wellness on Campus; Break the Silence, Help is Here” in Room N2401 (Batdorf Hall), 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. The event will include free pizza.

Tuesday, Sept. 10th, SLO Campus:

Film showing of “The Truth About Suicide” and “Cuesta College Mental Wellness on Campus; Break the Silence, Help is Here” in Room 5401, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The event will include free pizza.

Wednesday, Sept. 11th, North County Campus, Paso Robles:

Suicide Prevention Resource Fair in the Ernst Courtyard, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The event will include free Jamba Juice.

Thursday, Sept. 12th, SLO Campus:

Suicide Prevention Resource Fair in the Flagpole Courtyard, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The event will include free Jamba Juice.

The Student Mental Health Program hosts two annual events: Suicide Prevention Week in the fall and Mental Health Awareness Week in the spring.

In July 2012, Cuesta College was awarded a two-year, $154,543 grant to pay for workshops, web-based training and resources to aid faculty and staff who serve students with mental health challenges. The campus-based grant is through the California Community College Student Mental Health Program, a partnership between the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office and the Foundation for Community Colleges.

The college’s Wellness Arts Program is funded through a Proposition 63 grant and Innovation Funding. It is a 2-unit Academic Support course that teaches the fundamentals of mental wellness in the college environment. The program is geared toward students who struggle with anxiety, depression, social phobia or intrusive thoughts. This grant funding will last until June 2015 with the goal of the college absorbing the program into its standard curriculum.


Lauren Milbourne / (805) 546-3108 / Lauren_milbourne@cuesta.edu / Posted: 9/5/13