Kent State University Launches Step Up and Speak Out Campaign

Kent State University has developed a suicide and violence prevention campaign that promotes campus safety and greater awareness of mental health concerns, including risk factors for suicide. The Step Up and Speak Out campaign represents a collaborative effort of Kent State Psychological Services, University Health Services, the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and Kent State University Police Services. It aims to support individuals in need by educating university community members on protocols and resources designed to assist in disruptive situations or with distressed individuals.

“Over the past few years, we at Kent State and other college campuses have seen a notable trend of greater demand for mental health support and services,” says Carrie Berta, Psy.D., staff psychologist at University Health Services’ Psychological Services. “Nineteen million Americans, including nearly half of all college students, report feeling so depressed or distressed that they have difficulty functioning. We know that the earlier we can recognize mental health concerns, provide support and intervene, the better the outcome for the individual. The Step Up and Speak Out initiative provides the guidance and information to assist in these important prevention efforts.”

“When it comes to individuals in emotional distress or those who may exhibit disruptive behavior, it is
important to step up and speak out,” says Shay Little, Ph.D., Kent State’s associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “By doing so, you can be a part of this effort. Helping those in need
strengthens our community and is an integral part of keeping the campus safe and ensuring that individuals can be linked to appropriate services and resources.”

The Step Up and Speak Out campaign encourages members of the Kent State community to:

  • Step up and recognize when others need support.
  • Speak out when others cannot.
  • Step up and notice what’s going on with those around you.
  • Speak out and offer support.
  • Step up and get help.
  • Speak out and make a difference.
  • Step up and be aware of warning signs.
  • Speak out when you feel anyone is in danger.

“Feedback and survey data at Kent State indicate that many people are uncertain of how or where to obtain information, consultation or assistance for themselves or others,” adds Berta. “This uncertainty often leads to inaction, as people do not want to say or do the wrong thing. We believe that this campaign will increase the university community’s comfort and readiness to appropriately respond in difficult situations.”

For more information about the Step Up and Speak Out campaign, visit

POSTED: Monday, August 19, 2013 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 9:46am
University Communications and Marketing