Suicide Prevention Week 2021

The College of Dentistry’s Suicide Prevention Week campaign was September 6-12. This week of events was held in conjunction with increasing suicide prevention efforts on campus and nationwide to address the rising number of attempted and completed suicides by college and graduate students. Collegiate counselor, Cari Anderson, says that the primary goal for this week was to “not only increase awareness about the prevalence of suicide risk in our college and the dental profession but to also further de-stigmatize mental health and combat the culture of silence on this topic.”

As part of Suicide Prevention Week, a kickoff benefit concert for the Jenifer (Dr. Jen) Wolfe Memorial Funding Campaign took place Saturday, September 18 at Wilson’s Orchard and Farm in Iowa City, IA. Guests in town for the College of Dentistry Double Alumni Reunion Weekend were invited to attend the concert with music by HomeBrewed featuring Pete Damiano (’86 DDS), Shaan Desai (’20 DDS), and Cameron Gray (’21 DDS), along with special guest Mike Kanellis (’79 DDS, ’82 MS, ’95 MS). The
concert was free, but contributions to the Jenifer Wolfe memorial campaign were encouraged.

The memorial fund was established in honor of Jen Wolfe (’01 DDS, ’05 PEDOS) of Altoona, IA, a member of the Class of 2001 and former pediatric dentistry resident, who died by suicide on June 20, 2020. The funds raised as part of the campaign will be used to sponsor suicide prevention and awareness activities for health professionals and students while also providing support for suicide loss survivors. A small portion of the funds will also be used to assist low-income children in need of dental care. Breaking the stigma that surrounds suicide and mental health requires candid conversations about suicide awareness and prevention.

College of Dentistry was the first UI college to have an embedded counselor

Cari Anderson

Cari Anderson is the Director of Dental Counseling and Wellness Support Services for the College of Dentistry. Anderson’s office is embedded full time within the college and for the past five years, she has held various roles to enhance the overall wellbeing of DDS students and residents as well as assist them in achieving both personal and professional success.

These services include:

• Clinical counseling and psychotherapy services
• Provides referrals, resources and community consultations for students
• Academic advising, counseling and skills development
• Accommodations coordination and support
• Student advocacy and engagement
• Student leadership development and peer mentorship
• Seminars and workshops tailored to mental health and wellbeing needs, curriculum stressors and academic/environmental trends
• Provides trainings and programming for students, staff and faculty
• Provides large scale awareness and prevention initiatives annually
• Consultations to faculty and staff