Suicide is a topic often tip-toed around, rather than addressed directly.
Adam’s Hope House Foundation, which started as a grassroots idea, now a non-profit organization, is making efforts on the SUNY New Paltz campus to change that.
The foundation held events on Sept. 19 through Sept. 21 including an awareness talk, fundraiser at local restaurant McGillicuddy’s and a walk and mental health wellness fair at Hasbrouck Park.
Adam’s Hope House is a community of professionals and trained volunteers who are committed to increasing suicide awareness in communities, schools and universities, according to the foundation’s website.
The foundation raised $550 in raffles at McGillicuddy’s, according to CEO and Founder of Adam’s Hope House, Naomi Metzger.
Cait O’Connor, campus project coordinator of the foundation and the on-campus president of Suicide Awareness Funding and Education Campus Coalition (SAFE), said the foundation is happy with the amount of money raised.
“Being a grassroots organization, we try and take whatever money we can get,” O’Connor said. “It’s more about how much hope can we spread and can give people. The foundation is more about letting people know they’re not alone.”
Adam’s Hope House is named after Adam Metzger, an environmental science student at SUNY New Paltz, who died by suicide on Halloween of last year through an overdose of drugs.
“He was diagnosed with bipolar [disorder]years ago and because of this illness being so much in the closet, no one really knows what brings help to those who suffer this illness,” Adam’s mom, Naomi Metzger, said on a Facebook page for the foundation, which has over 6,000 likes. “Sadly, my son lost the battle, but we can still win the war.”
The talk on Sept. 19 included Naomi Metzger and Andrew Imbasciani, a former imprisoned convicted drug felon, who said the time he spent in prison taught him a lot about suicide issues with the drugs he once sold.
“Young people are opting out and what we’re trying to do is inspire hope and allow them a voice,” Naomi Metzger said.
Students had a positive reaction to the frank discussions.
“Adam’s mom was really about spreading the message of hope,” O’Connor said. “She wouldn’t let anyone leave without hugging her.”
Adam’s Hope House holds many events on campus to commemorate Adam’s loss and raise awareness for suicide, after two New Paltz student suicides in the past year, O’Connor said.
O’Connor said this subject is near and dear to her.
“I have struggled with mental illness since I was seven years old,” she said. “I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression … there have been a lot of issues.”
She said it is something that not only she has personally dealt with, but that many people she knows deal with everyday.
“I’ve had to bandage up plenty of people I was close to and take care of them,” she said. “It’s something I don’t want to keep seeing happen. It sucks because it’s so real and something people are afraid of talking about. It’s something people can manage and people need to be aware of and can talk about.”
SAFE is currently organizing an open mic night on Oct. 30 in the Multi Purpose Room of the Student Union. Interested performers should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission will be free, but they are accepting donations. Adam’s Hope House also holds an Out of the Darkness Walk every April and will need volunteers.
Students who need assistance with mental health issues may seek assistance from the Psychological Counseling Center at 845-257-2920.
For more information about Adam’s Hope House, visit adamshopehouse.com