Student club meets with To Write Love on Her Arms founder


On Feb. 8, eight members of High Point University’s To Write Love on Her Arms UChapter attended “Pain, Hope, Questions and Community: An Evening with TWLOHA,” hosted at Elon University. TWLOHA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to offer hope to those who may or may not be suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, hurtful or suicidal tendencies and more. Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of TWLOHA, was at the event.

Tworkowski spoke with great intention on the messages he wanted to bring to the table for college students, faculty and visitors who attended the event. HPU’s UChapter was recognized as guests by Tworkowski. Throughout the night, Tworkowski offered insight of the organization and what they are looking forward to in the future, as well as how every individual is important in terms of the platform.

“The world that we are dreaming about as an organization is where it’s normal [and]acceptable to talk about our pain,” Tworkowski said. “What would it look like to stop hiding that, to stop faking it, to stop pretending that we don’t [feel pain]?”

“I think it’s important for positive mental health, healing, recovery and love to have an impact on our campus,” said Michelle Edwards, president of the HPU UChapter. “These things have the chance to save lives, or at least turn a bad day into a good one.”

On a college campus, a UChapter of TWLOHA works through participating in nationally-organized TWLOHA campaigns. UChapters also offer information to their community about mental health, fundraise for local mental health institutions or organizations, collaborate with health services to offer a bridge for students who may wish to seek professional help through counseling and help create a network of colleges worldwide.

“There are many different ways to get involved,” Edwards said. “Come to our events and meetings, follow our social media pages and be on our email list. Other things you can do are educate yourself on mental illness and addiction and then educate others. Speak up against stigma, whether that be in person or online.”

With the digital world being at everyone’s fingertips, our highlight reels of social media are well planned and executed to our desires.

“Who gets to see the stuff that you don’t want anyone to see?” Tworkowski asked. “It’s great to have followers and likes, and to have people that cheer you on. But I wonder, do you have people that you can fall apart with? Do you have people who you can just be honest when things are hard, or when you’re sad or confused? Do you have those people that you can lean on and turn to? If you don’t, I want to say that you deserve that.”

“It presents a version of yourself that has no struggles,” Edwards said. “We assume our peers live happy lives without much struggle or pain. I think it’s important to remember that everyone struggles, everyone experiences pain and the appearance of a flawless life does not equate a flawless life.”

There are countless hours spent on social media a day, and it is impacting mental health and perceptions of the world.

“I think we should try to recognize that each person is so much deeper and raw and complex than you see.,” Edwards said. “They are living an entirely unique story and that’s something wonderful and sacred.”

With suicide being the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24, only two-thirds of people who are professionally diagnosed get help for their depression.

“This is the time to get aware of these issues and do something about it,” Edwards said. “The habits and ideas we develop now will follow us the rest of our lives, and we need to make sure we’re making choices that keep us healthy.”

“[What Tworkowski discussed] are the things I’m really passionate about as a psychology major,” said Arryn Dorsey, HPU UChapter member. “My goal is to help young women and hearing his story [is] right up my alley. It was another role model that I gained.”

Afterwards, Tworkowski held a meet-and-greet for all the attendees and spent significant time talking and listening to those who had their own stories to share.

“He’s a celebrity in his own way, but he was easy to talk to afterwards,” Dorsey said. “He was not full of himself, he was really nice.”

“As much as I think it is a really hard time to be alive, I actually think it is a really fascinating time to be alive,” Tworkowski said. “To me, it is an incredible time where people are rising up and saying we’re going to value compassion, we’re going to value caring about people, we’re going to talk about things that are important.”

Now is the time to get involved with mental health of yourself and others, he added.

“There is a need for all of the stuff we are talking about right now,” Tworkowski said. “To be known, to be loved, to have people who understand you and to know that if you need help, that it’s okay to put a hand up and say that you need help.”

All HPU students are able to attend on-campus counseling services at no charge. Counseling staff members are located on the third floor of the Slane Student Center. For further details, contact the Office of Counseling Services at 336-888-6352.

Campus Chronicle
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