“Real Talk” initiative provides a safe space for students to reflect

Chasity Pugh

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With suicide on the rise at college campuses, NOLA Wesley acknowledges that all students deserve a safe space to discuss their thoughts and share their struggles. Because of this, they have created an initiative open to all.

The “Real Talk Initiative” will serve as a confidential conversation space where people can share about grief and talk about any issues openly.

Each Real Talk will follow the model of a generic 12-step meeting, which includes an opening and closing interfaith prayer and gives each participant three to five minutes to share while others listen without responding.

Morgan Guyton, director of NOLA Wesley, said that the recent suicide tragedy at Tulane University inspired him to begin the program. His concern is that some don’t have a safe space among informal friend groups to share struggles openly.

“I think that when people keep things inside they get isolated and can end up making tragic decisions, especially when they don’t feel they have someone to talk to,” Guyton said.

Guyton said that he senses that, when feeling anxiety or depression, some choose not to open up in fear of feeling awkward or being ridiculed. Because of this, he says students need a structured place to talk about how they feel.

“I have dealt with depression all my life, and during my third year in college, I attempted suicide. I didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable calling during this time,” Guyton said.

Guyton said this is part of the reason why he became a minister; he wanted to help people in similar situations.

Guyton said if students feel this kind of space would be helpful or if they feel passionate about supporting other people who need this kind of space, to send a confidential email to [email protected]. It is open to both Tulane and Loyola students.

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