Thank You, Mental Health Heroes!

Leaders of the mental health community spread messages of support and hope during the 7th Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest.

Darrell Harrington, of Be Kind Ithaca, shared a personal story of getting help for crippling anxiety, and how it led him to create the bright red “Be Kind” hearts that adorn lawns and porches throughout Ithaca and beyond.

“I wouldn’t be here right now, or got to be on this amazing journey with Be Kind, if I hadn’t gained control of my anxiety,” said Harrington, crediting his wife and a close friend and band mate for guiding him into therapy.

 “If you are suffering, please talk to someone. I know it’s hard. It’s extremely hard. But there is help out there. There’s some amazing people that want to help you. It’s those nine out of ten people that will help you, and take care of you, and make you feel better, and enjoy your life like I am today.”

Kathy Taylor, of the Finger Lakes affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), related how a child’s mental illness turned her family’s world “upside down and inside out.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness Finger Lakes

“We thought we could fix his problem through love and support,” she said. “But it wasn’t enough. I had heard about NAMI. It really took a lot of courage to make that phone call and admit we couldn’t fix the problem ourselves.”

Taylor and her husband joined a 12-week NAMI class called Family to Family. “These people were non-judgmental and they helped us so much,” she recalled. “We learned a common language so we could talk to each other about mental illness in a more educated way and understand what our son was going through.

Crystal Howser, of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Greater Central New York, said everyone has a role to play in protecting mental health.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

“Together, we can make a difference,” said Howser, one of the Ithaca area’s most relentless suicide prevention advocates. “We can let others know they are not alone. Together, we are strong, together we are making a difference. Suicide is preventable and suicide prevention begins with all of us.”

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service

Mental Health Association in Tompkins County

Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca

Advocacy Center of Tompkins County

Be Kind Ithaca

The Sophie Fund

Be Safe at College!

A dark and often hidden side of student life is the prevalence of sexual assault. Know the resources for keeping yourself and others safe, supporting victims, and holding perpetrators accountable.

DOWNLOAD: Be Safe at College Resources

According to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), college women aged 18-24 are at three times greater risk of sexual violence. Among undergraduate students, 26.4 percent of females and 6.8 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation, RAINN statistics show.

Check out RAINN’s Staying Safe on Campus webpage for important advice that may make a world of difference in your college experience.

Here is contact information concerning sexual assault for students studying in Tompkins County:

SUPPORT

Advocacy Center of Tompkins County

Free, confidential, local support and advocacy for survivors, friends, and families around domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse.

Hotline (607) 277-5000

Office (607) 277-3203

Instagram: @advocacytc

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network(RAINN)

RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline and provides programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Hotline 24/7 (800) 656-HOPE

Online (English)

Online (en español)

Instagram: @rainnn

GET INVOLVED

Sexual Violence Prevention Network (Cornell University)

Student organization helps victims and survivors and promotes equity in relationships through events, campaigns, and partnerships.

svpnetwork.cornell@gmail.com

Instagram: @svpn_cu

IC Strike (Ithaca College)

Student organization dedicated to education, activism, tangible change,and allyship for survivors of sexual assault and violence.

icstrike@ithaca.edu

Instagram: @icstrike

EMERGENCY

911 Ithaca Police Assistance

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Cornell University

Cornell Police (607) 255-1111

Cornell Health & CAPS (607) 255-5155

Victim Advocacy (607) 255-1212

Title IX Office (607) 255-2242

Student Conduct (607) 255-4680

Ithaca College

Campus Police (607) 274-3353

CAPS (607) 274-3136

Title IX Office (607) 274-7761

Student Conduct (607) 274-3375

Tompkins Cortland Community College

Campus Police (607) 844-6511

Counseling (607) 844-6577

Title IX Office (607) 844-4440

Student Conduct (607) 844-8222 x6591

Are You Safe on Campus?

It’s the start of a new academic year, and colleges are brimming with exciting academic challenges and social opportunities. A dark and often hidden side of student life, however, is the prevalence of sexual assault.

DOWNLOAD: Be Safe at College Resources

According to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, and college women aged 18-24 are at three times greater risk of sexual violence.

Among undergraduate students, 26.4 percent of females and 6.8 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation, RAINN statistics show.

“College campuses can give you a sense of security, a feeling that everyone knows each other and watches out for one another,” RAINN says. “There are perpetrators who take advantage of this feeling of safety and security to commit acts of sexual violence.”

Check out RAINN’s Staying Safe on Campus webpage for important advice that may make a world of difference in your college experience.

“As bystanders, students can learn ways of stepping in to prevent crimes like sexual assault from occurring. When it comes to personal safety, there are steps you can take as well. No tips can absolutely guarantee safety—sexual violence can happen to anyone, and it’s not the only crime that can occur on a college campus. It’s important to remember that if you are sexually assaulted on campus it is not your fault—help and support are available.”

RAINN’s college webpage includes sections on increasing on-campus safety; protecting yourself in social settings; feeling safe after an assault; and additional resources for specifically for students.

Here is contact information concerning sexual assault for students studying in Tompkins County:

Advocacy Center of Tompkins County

Local support for survivors, friends, and families of domestic violence and sexual assault

Office (607) 277-3203

Hotline (607) 277-5000

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline and provides programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Hotline (800) 656-HOPE

Online (English) (en español)

Cornell University

Cornell Police (607) 255-1111

Cornell Health & CAPS (607) 255-5155

Victim Advocacy (607) 255-1212

Title IX Office (607) 255-2242

Student Conduct (607) 255-4680

Ithaca College

Campus Police (607) 274-3353

CAPS (607) 274-3136

Title IX Office (607) 274-7761

Student Conduct (607) 274-3375

Tompkins Cortland Community College

Campus Police (607) 844-6511

Counseling (607) 844-6577

Title IX Office (607) 844-4440

Student Conduct (607) 844-8222 x6591

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The Advocacy Center of Tompkins County, IC Strike, and The Sophie Fund on Wednesday launched an education campaign on social media to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Download Poster: April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Each day throughout April, the local organizations are posting infographics on their social media platforms about safety plans, reporting procedures, hotline help, medical and mental health support, and tools to fight sexual assault.

Citing data from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the campaign highlights that sexual violence affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. RAINN says that one out of every six American women, and one out of every 33 American men, has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.

College women are at three times greater risk of assault, according to RAINN; 13 percent of all graduate and undergraduate students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that sexual violence impacts health in many ways and can lead to short and long-term physical and mental health problems.

The Advocacy Center is the premier community organization providing support services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, and child sexual abuse. Besides the social media campaign, the Advocacy Center is organizing a host of activities throughout the month. They include a screening of the film Roll Red Roll, a Wen-Do Women’s Self Defense online workshop, a yoga class fundraiser, a Clothesline Project Display in DeWitt Park, and a “Take Back the Night!” march, rally, speak out, and vigil.

“The Advocacy Center is dedicated to raising awareness about the impacts of all forms of sexual violence on survivors and the community, while also highlighting the work being done to promote healthy development and practices that work towards preventing these forms of violence from occurring,” said Advocacy Center Executive Director Heather Campbell.

IC Strike, a student organization at Ithaca College dedicated to education, action, and allyship surrounding sexual assault, is collaborating in the social media campaign because it believes in the power of education and communication.

“Our society struggles to have conversations about sex, trauma, and sexual violence,” said IC Strike Co-President Julia Siegel. “The social gag rule on sexual assault fosters ignorance and perpetuates harmful behavior and values. By equipping students with the facts and the vocabulary to discuss these issues, productive conversations can be had and stigmas can be broken.”

The social media campaign was designed by Lorelei Horrell and Margaret Kent, Ithaca College students and interns at The Sophie Fund.

“I have enjoyed getting to work with other individuals who are passionate about sexual assault awareness,” said Kent. “As a female college student, the issue of sexual assault is a common worry. I hope that our campaign can help raise awareness about this issue and at the same time, make survivors feel seen.”

Horrell agreed on the importance of supporting survivors of sexual assault.

“There’s a lot of stigma around discussing sexual assault that makes it more difficult for survivors to find information and resources,” said Horrell. “As a young woman and as a college student, fear of sexual assault is constant. Working on this campaign both validated that fear and transformed it into something more. We can be angry, and we can be afraid, but we can also learn how to protect ourselves, practice being able to support our friends, and educate ourselves on all the resources available if something does happen.”

Click any of the links to check out the campaign’s social media posts and share:

https://www.facebook.com/thesophiefund/

https://www.instagram.com/thesophiefund/

The Sophie Fund’s Sexual Assault page: National, state, and local resources to learn about sexual assault and how to deal with it.