Students decorate journals as part of National Suicide Prevention Week

CSUN students decorate jounals at Thursday’s Craft Corner as part of National Suicide Prevention Week. Karoline Steavenson / Staff Reporter

The University Student Union (USU) was bustling with activity during midday Thursday as students took advantage of the chance to make free arts and crafts at the weekly Craft Corner sponsored by the USU Arts and Film Committee.

Jessica Balfour, 24, the committee’s chairwoman and senior marketing major , came up with the idea to give each Craft Corner a theme.

Thursday’s theme was suicide prevention and awareness in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week.

Balfour said she has been personally touched by the subject.

“Mental health and suicide awareness is something that’s kind of close and dear to me so I thought it would be great to highlight it,” Balfour said.  “I lost a (cousin) to suicide. She was only 22 years old.”

Balfour said she thought making small journals would be a good link to the topic since many mental health professionals say keeping a journal can relieve stress.

She added that her family struggled with confusion and grief after the loss of their family member.

“It took a while but we came to terms with it and came to understand where she was in her heart,” Balfour said.
“Young adults really struggle these days especially with all the pressures from school, work, friends and family all that is really stressful – so I thought it would be really important to focus on young adults and let them know there is help out there, even on campus.”

Craft Corner, which occurs every Thursday, kicked off Sept. 2 with free ice cream for students. Balfour said that the event was so successful that they ran out of supplies in less than 90 minutes.

Camelia Garrett, 21, freshman fashion design major, worked on blanketing the cover of a journal with plastic jewels.

“I’m into art,” Garrett said. “I love arts and crafts. I always want to do them. It’s my way of expressing myself.”

Students had a variety of art materials to choose from at the tables.

Markers, plastic jewels, foam cutouts and stencils provided an outlet for creativity and a break from the normal college routine.

Carrie Ward, 25, junior, regularly helps Balfour with the Craft Corner events.

Ward, computer science major, said Craft Corner brings people together.

“It gets a lot of students together that don’t normally meet so when they’re hanging out over here, doing the crafts, they’re talking to each other and they come back again and again each week,” Ward said.

Next week’s Craft Corner theme is “Talk Like a Pirate Day.”