She walks into the room like she does everyday. Her tattered blue jeans, pink scrunchie tangled in her wavy caramel hair and the same oversized hoody hide the scars underneath.
To everyone else, she is the quiet girl who only opens her mouth when she needs to cough; other than that, she remains a social outcast.
However, to herself, she is the product of an abusive relationship that relies on the medication and support from her peers to make it through each day.
This girl hides in the shadows of the Shippensburg University campus. This girl is a manifestation of all the dilemmas that students at SU face on a daily basis, man or woman.
A survey from the World Health Organization states that depression affects 121 million people worldwide.
Eighteen million of these cases are happening in the United States. These cases are also found on college campuses where the anxiety of being away from home can take its toll.
To many, there is no escape from the inner demons that penetrate our thoughts and torment our emotions.
However, an up-and-coming group on campus has shaped its mission around curtailing harbored negative emotions and helping students attain the help they need.
To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a country-wide nonprofit movement has stormed onto the SU campus scene and has started to make a significant impact with those struggling with depression, self-injury, addiction and suicidal thoughts.
TWLOHA formed and began in Florida in 2006 as a story, the true story of five days spent with a friend who was denied entry into a drug treatment facility.
The title of her story “To Write Love on Her Arms” also appeared on T-shirts that were sold to try and get the friend into the treatment facility. The effect of the effort made a significant impact.
In effect, the movement has gained steam throughout the years and has now become a nationwide movement. It has also found a home on the SU campus.
To Write Love on Her Arms, headed by president Shannon Gray a SU Senior, was recently appointed as a recognized national chapter – an achievement that greatly boosts the group, but keeps its mission the same.
“Our main goal is to offer a safe haven for people and bring hope and inspiration to our campus by allowing students to have a place to come to and be themselves,” said Gray.
By offering a safe haven for these people, Gray explained that To Write Love on Her Arms offers a bridge for people to get the help they need.
It also provides support for those who may not have friends or relatives who are dealing with these issues.
To Write Love on Her Arms’s impact has already been felt on campus, winning the 2011-2012 SU campus impact award and recently had over 100 signings at the activities fair in August.
This notoriety has increased Gray’s drive to raise awareness of To Write Love on Her Arms to SU’s campus and beyond.
Gray plans to conquer this by participating in events such as Fears vs. Dreams, an event at which people write their biggest fears and their greatest dreams on a board so that people can see what they have in common and bring the campus together.
“Our goal is to reach out to as many people as possible and to make sure they know that they are not alone,” Gray said.
To Write Love on Her Arms looks to make an impact so that people like the girl, who once sat quietly in the shadows, now smiles. The help that she has gotten represents all of the students that could be helped at SU.