An Anchor box placed in the Art and Design Building at Austin Peay State University. Photo by Abigail McKenna | THE ALL STATE
Recently, you might have seen these little blue boxes popping up around campus. But where did they come from? And where do they go?
These boxes come from a grassroots suicide prevention organization, Find Your Anchor. Ali Borowsky founded the organization to help prevent suicides by providing resources to those in need—in the form of little blue boxes.
While FYA is popular among the suicide prevention community, it is based in Chicago and Southern California, both locations far from Clarksville, Tennessee. So, how did these little blue boxes end up here at Austin Peay State University?
Dr. Crystal Henson, the director of the Student Health and Counseling Center, holds the answers.
“Centerstone received a Young Adult Suicide Prevention Grant and reached out to let me know they had Anchor boxes available to share with our community,” said Henson.
According to Henson, it can be difficult to reach everyone in need of assistance.
“The Anchor boxes allow us to reach students who haven’t reached out to us but still allows us to provide a level of support and resources for those who need it,” said Henson.
The boxes come chock full of a range of mental health support resources from mixtape links and motivational posters to phone numbers and infographics. Those who find these Anchor boxes are welcome to hold onto them while they need support.
However, that is not the end of the road for these boxes.
“Individuals are encouraged to take what they need and/or add something to the box that helped them. When they are ready, they are encouraged to leave the box for someone else in need,” said Henson.
Henson notes that mental health issues are more common than people might think, “Depression, anxiety and stress—all of these things can lead us to believe everyone else ‘has it together’ and we’re the only ones struggling. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We are all humans and we all have human emotions.”
Part of the importance of the Anchor boxes comes from the Counseling Center not always being able to meet the needs of every student on campus.
“Having additional resources can be pertinent in helping a student manage a situation until they are able to be connected to a counselor,” said Henson.
Henson believes the best parts about the initiative are instilling hope, recognizing the human connection and supporting one another.
“If one person finds a box and it brings a smile to their face, makes them feel seen and supported, and instills some hope, then I feel the program is a success,” said Henson.
The goal is to have at least one box placed in every building on campus. Centerstone provided the Counseling Center a total of 82 boxes and has already begun distributing them to different faculty and staff members.
Henson said, “I believe around 40 have been handed out to be placed around campus and we have more at the Counseling Center. If an individual needs a box and hasn’t found one, they are free to email me directly to request one, email@example.com.”