March 29, 2016

H.Y.P.E offers students new group to facilitate healthy decisions

Helping You Through Peer Education, otherwise known as H.Y.P.E., is a new on-campus peer education group that plans to develop leadership, communication, intervention and referral skills.

Emily Halasah, one of the five co-founders of the group, explains that they all hold majors in the health science department and want to facilitate healthy decisions as positive role models.

“It’s a student group and there are four breakout groups: sexual violence prevention, suicide prevention, alcohol and drug abuse and general wellness,” Halasah said.

Rhonda Abrams, the president, is a graduate assistant who began the organization through the Wellness Center because it lacked a peer-counseling group at Cleveland State.

Every member is certified by the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA, the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession and supporter of collegiate peer educators and advisors.

“We did one 12-hour training to learn about each of the four topics,” Halasah said. “Everyone has to go through training to be a part of H.Y.P.E., so all of our members are qualified to speak on a range of topics.”

Halasah said taking mental health and alcohol and drug abuse courses prepared them to tackle topics like suicide prevention and addiction.

“We do a lot of health education and health promotion tabling for now,” Halasah said. “We just started last semester so we’re trying to get our name out there so that students know they can come to us if they need peer-to-peer counseling on anything.”

Halasah said that their approach is to educate students on all of those topics at different events and information tables.

“In our suicide awareness, the two highest suicide groups are veterans and the LGBTQ community, so we have two focus areas,” Halasah said. “We have both veterans and LGBTQ representatives that are certified so we can advocate for them. We just want that community to know that we’re here for them.”

H.Y.P.E. celebrated National Condom Day by giving out free condoms and sex education advice before Valentine’s Day, and it recently had an eating disorder prevention table in the Innerlink.

“I just think that this group is so important because there’s really no health education in our general curriculum at Cleveland State and it’s also being pulled out of a lot of the education programs at high schools,” Halasah said. “So we get out there and throw health education in your face, whether it’s condoms or information about suicide prevention.”

With Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, H.Y.P.E. has already begun planning and preparing material and engaging ways to educate students.

Halasah said the group is constantly growing and training new members.  Students can get involved and find more contact information by using their identification number to log into OrgSync, Cleveland State’s online portal for campus organizations.



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