Our goal is really just to help people feel like they belong to a community," Nikhil Buduma, co-founder of Lean on Me told The Associated Press
After seven suicides in just two years at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students are doing everything in their power to make sure it never happens again.
This month they launched Lean on Me, which lets their classmates chat anonymously with trained student volunteers about anything that’s troubling them, according to The Associated Press.
Artificial light boxes meant to treat depression in the winter months will also be installed around campus by other students, along with the new MIT Puppy Lab that will bring therapy dogs to the school this semester.
“We have found time and again that students listen to students before they listen to anyone else,” Nance Roy, clinical director at the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit group based in New York that works to prevent suicide among college students, told the news outlet. “These issues can no longer just fall to the counseling center.”
Over the past decade, MIT s suicide rate has been 10.2 per 100,000 students, according to The Boston Globe. That rate has increased over the past five years to 12.5 per 100,000 students.
Campus projects at the university meant to improve mental health recently received a total of almost $50,000 in grants from school officials.
After two of sophomore Izzy Lloyd’s friends took their own lives in the same week last year, she decided to start a project called “Tell Me About Your Day,” which encourages students to talk to one another. She has since passed out more than 4,000 wristbands that say TMAYD, standing for the name of the organization.
“It’s suicide prevention by community building,” Lloyd, 19, told the AP. “We’re showing people who may feel like they have nothing left that they have a world of people who do care about them.”