Group gives support to depressed

To Write Love on Her Arms, often abbreviated TWLOHA, is a national organization which seeks to provide a place for those struggling with depression, self-injury, addiction and more. A group of Washburn students have taken the organization’s vision and extended it to the Washburn campus. They now have a dedicated group of roughly 20 students who attend a weekly Thursday meeting, usually held in the Shawnee Room of the Memorial Union.

Molly Walter, sophomore psychology major at Washburn, helped found the WU chapter of TWLOHA last March. It didn’t really take off at first, but the organization had a breakthrough this past August.

“We didn’t promote it much last year,” said Walter. “This year, we did WU Fest and met a lot of the people who are here tonight. Then just by word of mouth and having events, we were able to start to get people to come.”

Walter, who has been impassioned by the organization since eighth grade, said it’s been a great experience seeing the organization impact students positively.

“Even recently, we were sitting here, and I was talking to our advisor and I said ‘a year ago, we only had four people coming and now we have all these people who say they love Thursdays and coming to meetings,’” said Walter. “For me, even just small discussions and being able to say ‘you’re not alone in what you’re going through’ means a lot.”

A normal meeting often begins with a short discussion of a current event pertaining to depression, self-injury, and other related topics. They also invite guest speakers. At the March 7 meeting, an individual from the Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy came to speak to the group about learning how to advocate for youth with disabilities.

Being a new organization has come with fiscal needs, so the organization recently completed a fundraiser for its benefit, holding a 5K event at Washburn. The event raised $640.81, which the Washburn chapter will keep roughly 25 percent of, or $160. The remaining funds will be donated to the national TWLOHA organization.

Another piece of the organization’s meetings is “positive bombardment,” which is where a box is passed around to each individual in the room during the meeting. They are to write messages in the box, which are anonymous, and they are then read aloud by other members of the group. They often share kind words for other members of the organization, explain how TWLOHA has helped them, and more.

“Thursdays are often really stressful for me at the beginning of the day, because it’s completely booked” said Elizabeth Evans, junior English major and TWLOHA member. “But I come to TWLOHA and everything is planned out, and I just get to relax and be with a family. Even though we talk about really heavy topics, just being with those people, I always feel more hopeful about the things going on in my life and life in general.”

And as Walter explained, many students feel stress in some way or another, and this is a place for them to come and express it.

“College is hard for most people,” said Walter. “I think we’ve all been to the point where we’re stressed out and we don’t want to do anything. So I think it’s really awesome to be able to say ‘we know you’re stressed right now, but you’re not alone in this.’”

The organization hopes to hold a few more social events for the end of the semester, including a social at The Burger Stand in College Hill, as well as a potluck. Kari Wold, senior psychology major, said the future of the organization is in making sure others know it exists.

 “It would be really nice if we had at least 25 people who were here regularly,” said Wold. “The way we want to do that is to get different organizations on campus partnered with us, because that’s the only way we’re going to get everyone involved, is to align all of us.”

If interested in attending a meeting or learning more about the organization, please visit the TWLOHA Facebook page at facebook.com/twlohawu.