‘Grow, Thrive, Survive’: Iona’s counseling center informs students about suicide awareness

Katherine Daly, Staff Writer

Last Tuesday, the counseling center hosted “Grow, Thrive, Survive” for national suicide awareness month in the residence hall courtyard.  

The event is part of the counseling center’s fall wellness program, which is a collaborative calendar with the Center for Student Engagement and the Office of Residential Life.  

“Grow, Thrive, Survive” raised suicide awareness by prompting students to learn the signs of suicidal thoughts through mood, behavior and talk. Students engaged in a hands-on skill activity by planting seeds of change. This simple task provided a way for students to write the change they wanted to see on the pot of the new plant which they were able to take home. 

Many students enjoyed the opportunity to take part in an activity that educated them on such an important topic and were ready to reflect on their experiences.  

“I liked this event, as it helps me to understand,” said senior Andres Cardeli.“Life can be simple like the seeds or more complicated like my grandma’s aloe plant.”   

In addition to learning the importance of suicide prevention, many students had a good time with the company of their new plant buddies.  

“I really can’t wait to take this plant back to my room,” said Cardeli. “I’m really interested in watching it grow. Just doing something like this is always fun and exciting. It reminds me of the work my family put into our rose bush…” 

Lauren McGlynn, assistant director of the Iona’s counseling center, spoke about how the event “Grow, Thrive, Survive” is simply an attempt to teach students to learn in an easy-going environment. 

“This event aims to teach our students about the signs of suicide, through the simplicity of having compassion for others in a safe space,” said McGlynn. “As a community, it’s our job to find balance in life where we are comfortable with one another. It’s here where we educate Iona’s students in the power of change, by planting flowers and watching them grow. Symbolically, we create goals and watch it take root as it begins to change.” 

The Counseling Center is always open for all students to talk about a variety of topics. Events like these are made for students to participate and become part of the school’s community. 

“The Counseling Center is there to assist Iona’s students when needed, and events like these can show the strength of our community,” said McGlynn. “The students impact how these events work by providing their own insight when they participate. Sharing a significant part of themselves, as they plant their Marigolds. Creating goals, they want to overcome. Learning that working towards your goals takes a bit of effort.” 

In the end, students left this event with appreciation for the power of change and a new little potted plant. 

If you are seeking help, contact the Iona College Counseling Center: (914) 633-2038, NYC Well 1-888-692-9335 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.