Kappa Delta honors sister during Suicide Awareness Month
The University of Miami’s Kappa Delta (KD) Chapter has held several events in recognition of National Suicide Awareness Month and in remembrance of sophomore Daniela DiSanto, who passed away in August.
On Saturday, September 25, KD met at the sundial of Central Quad, leading a march in honor of Daniela. After walking to the tree Miami planted in honor of Daniela and laying flowers, everyone made their way to Kumar Chapel for a memorial service.
âWe had a very simplistic memorial service; I think it was very beautiful, âDoheny said. âThere were pictures of Daniela around the flowers, and after Father Jacob did the memorial service, we gave everyone the opportunity to speak. Ms. DiSanto actually came to town for the memorial service so she spoke; friends have spoken.
Doheny appreciated that the memorial allowed everyone to mourn together.
âIt was just touching that everyone was crying for Daniela in the same place. It almost changed the tone because none of us really could do that; we all lived with it, âDoheny said. “But the memorial service really allowed us to mourn her death but also to celebrate all that she has done in her life.”
KD organized a fundraiser by selling sweatshirts to promote suicide awareness, and all proceeds were donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Meghan Doheny, president of KD, said each of the four sweatshirt designs represented an aspect of Daniela’s life.
âI think the main goal was to recognize what happened and also to promote your own sanity at the end of the day,â Doheny said. âOne of the sweatshirts was [inspired by] his dad, and there was the last line of his eulogy in the sleeve that read, “Be brave, turn the corner,” and on the back we interviewed his friends and family and Kappa Deltas in the Miami community , and gave us 50 answers to the question of the different ways Daniela created love.
Shortly before her death, Daniela had the word “create” tattooed on her rib cage, and Doheny said her sisters wanted to highlight Daniela’s motto.
âIt was kind of his life motto: create the life you want almost in a way, you can create some aspect of your life,â Dohney said. “It reminded me that if I’m having a bad day, I can create happiness like I can change my mood, just like a simple state of mind.”
Nicole Mironchik, president of mental health at KD, said she was touched by all who came to honor Daniela.
âIt was really great to see people from all over who came out – it wasn’t just Kappa Deltas, it was just people from all walks of life who were really awesome,â Mironchik said.
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Mironchik described Daniela’s passing as a wake-up call for many people. Mironchik put together resource pages for KD, such as Campus Care and the Student Counseling Service, and said there should be more conversations about mental health in Miami.
“I think [mental health] could be taken a little more seriously [at Miami], and maybe the students could be a little more informed, âMironchik said. âBecause these are all things I learned about research when I was going to educate the sorority people about resources, it was nothing I knew before. “
Collin Leider, president of Never Walk Alone, said his organization’s main goals are to educate Miami students about the importance of mental health in college and to build community within the organization.
Leider said about 20% of students seriously considered attempting or attempting suicide.
âDepression is very, very common among college students. Especially after the pandemic ended, rates skyrocketed due to the isolation, âLeider said. âI would really like people to know that there are a lot of people, resources and organizations that are more than willing to help you. And you are not alone.
Michael Blackledge, president of MENTal Health, said his organization’s goal is to raise awareness and better understand mental health and to help students find the resources available to them.
âWe are trained to raise awareness about mental health, but at the same time we want to educate other Miami students about the resources available to them, how to contact the counseling center and tell them it is okay to see tips. “Blackledge said.” And also how to be a supportive friend to someone who can think, like, ‘Oh, I want to go for a consultation, but I’m a little embarrassed to talk about it.’ “
Blackledge says he thinks it’s important to remove the stigma of mental health.
âIt’s good to be open with your friends and peers,â Blackledge said. âAnd if you’re open about it, then someone else who wasn’t before can follow your lead and kind of like, ‘It’s good to talk about my emotions.’ “
Doheny thinks it’s time to have more open conversations about mental health.
âI think in general mental health has been glossed over once again,â Doherty said. “I think everyone wants to live this perfect college life, and they don’t really want to admit that they are all fighting and facing things.”