Sunday, March 28, 2010

Post Secret & Cornell

Post Secret according to Wikipedia is:

"an ongoing community mail art project, created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. Select secrets are then posted on the PostSecret website, or used for PostSecret's books or museum exhibits."

The blog site is updated every Sunday with new postcards and new secrets and serves as a suicide prevention and awareness site as well. At the bottom of the secrets for this Sunday there was an interesting exchange between a reader and Frank about the suicides at Cornell. I went to see Frank speak two years ago at Cornell and I vaguely remember what the woman was talking about in her comment.

This is the exchange posted by Frank on the post secret website:

Dear Frank

I thought about sending a postcard but wanted to share a story without anonymity. I'm a senior at Cornell University and at your PostSecret Event here two years ago, I shared the following secret: "My main motivation for applying to the PhD program in Clinical Psychology was to honor the memory of my three cousins who took their lives by acquiring the training to help alleviate the despair of others."

Recently I received an offer of admission to the USUHS in Bethesda, Maryland where I will be joining the Suicide Behavior and Prevention Laboratory. As soon as I received that offer, I remembered the secret I shared with the audience that night and how deeply meaningful it will be to follow through.

It makes me smile to know I'll be moving so close to where all the secrets are sent and being only a few miles away from someone breaking down barriers in the mental health field in a way science has yet to discover.

-Jen Bakalar


I still have good memories of the Cornell PostSecret Event in 2008. And being a basketball fan I enjoyed watching Cornell's team go deep in the NCAAs last week. But I've also been distressed to see the lopsided media coverage of student basketball compared to the half dozen student suicides at Cornell this year.

According to Yahoo, 7,573 news stories were written about Cornell Basketball in the past 30 days. During that same period, only 275 stories were written about the six Cornell students who took their own lives.

Suicide is a secret that we collectively keep from ourselves. But if we can find the courage to tell the painful stories, together, we can take the actions that will bring help and hope to those of us who suffer in silence.

This year over 1,000 college students will kill themselves. March is the month with the highest rate of suicides. Here are five ways you can fight back today.

Take a look at the secrets on the blog and you will find this exchange at the end of the secrets for this week.


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