A new student philanthropy, “Sigma Saves” was started to spread awareness about mental health and suicide. The philanthropy was started by Mya Houdyshell, a Junior elementary education and special education major.
“I have known a lot of people who have struggled and so I decided that this has become enough and I wanted to spread the word that you matter and that somebody loves you out there, and it’s important for you to know that,” Houdyshell said.
Sigma Saves was started through the sorority Tri Sigma.
“She brought it to us as a whole, we were obsessed with the idea, we thought it would be amazing in so many different ways, especially within our community,” said Lucy Cruciani, who is a senior in Psychology, and is also in Tri Sigma.
Sigma Saves had their first official event in Oct. 2019.
“We just think we can do anything and everything to make more people aware and make people feel less alone. Especially because it’s a huge issue in today’s world, we’re even doing a lot of brainstorming and trying to see how we can raise the most money and how we can get the message spread the best we can in the most efficient way possible,” Cruciani said.
Sigma Saves set up a booth in the Oval where people could take encouraging notes and write one for someone else.
“I got a lot of very good feedback from it. Multiple people who I didn’t know were coming up to me saying ‘you have no idea how much I needed this, thank you.’ Just these little notes have helped me so much, it’s on my mirror in my bathroom now, or in the back of my phone case,” Houdyshell said. “I think the benefits are telling people that somebody out there cares about you, even on your worst day, you have family that cares for you, you have friends that care for you.”
Another goal of Sigma Saves is education about mental health and suicide prevention.
“The benefits are definitely education for sure, a lot of people obviously know what suicide is, but they might not know it could be happing to one of their best friends, in terms of suicidal thoughts,” Cruciani said. “It’s very easy for people to suppress it or take a very individual route about it and only handle it themselves so maybe being able to recognize some warning symptoms of it, and just by doing that and actually reaching out to a friend or a peer, it can totally change things around for someone.”
The money that Sigma Saves raises will be donated to The Save Foundation.
“It’s just a good foundation that I’ve been in contact with for multiple years now, I think it does amazing things,” Houdyshell said.
Sigma Saves is currently planning events for the rest of the year.
“I just hope that it continues to get bigger and bigger, we don’t have a huge budget, so that does hold us back, but I’m hoping in the next couple years we see a lot of progress, and I hope it really does have an effect on people,” Cruciani said.