USM senior raises suicide awareness with colors and candles


HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Project Stay organization hosted a ‘Light up the Foundation for Suicide Prevention’ event Thursday at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Shoemaker Square.

“Suicide ideation and depression is so dark, so being in that dark place, what better than to have that gleam of light? Most of the time people say they can’t find it. So tonight, I hope they find it,” said USM senior, Founder and Director of The Project Stay, Shelley Griffith.

The Project Stay is a pledge to remind people to ‘stay’ alive. Griffith invited people to paint and light candles in effort to raise suicide and depression awareness.

“They’re also painting a candle to personalize their own struggle using specific colors. Then they are also able to do black candles which signifies people that they lost in their lives,” she explained. Co-Director, Ilyssa Claxton, said the mission is clear, “The students that are struggling on this campus really do have a voice, there is a community and plenty people that are ready and willing to help,”said Claxton.

Both, Claxton and Griffith shared crisis intervention resources during the event. “We actually have counselors on sight, so that allows, if someone was to be trigged here – or if they have questions, that they are able to ask and, the solution for this is just knowing that they’re not alone. We are supportive and we’re here to love on them,” Griffith shared.

USM offers student counseling services for anyone battling depression, suicide or just in need of conversation. In addition, to learn more about the project – visit ‘The Project Stay’ group on Facebook.

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