S.H.O.E.S. project returns to combat mental illness and depression

East Carolina University’s Campus Living returns with the S.H.O.E.S. project on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near the Cupola on the ECU Mall.

S.H.O.E.S., which stands for Students Honoring Others’ Everyday Struggles/Stories, is an award-winning program created in 2016 to help ECU students who may be dealing with challenging times. College students may experience depression, anxiety, stress, addictions or thoughts of self-harm, and may feel isolated and unable to manage their responses.

“Mental health touches all ages, races and sexual orientations, which is a huge problem within the world today,” said Waz Miller, director of residence life. “We are striving to bring awareness that mental health issues are real and impact many in hopes that people realize that what they are feeling and experiencing is real, legitimate, and can hopefully be helped through the resources that are available.”

Thursday’s event will feature a display of 450 pairs of shoes collected from ECU and Hope Middle School students, each attached to a story of someone struggling with a family situation, medical condition, mental health issue or other life challenge. In addition to the shoes on display, there will be a So Worth Loving Board, a chalkboard where students can write down the reasons why they are worthy of being loved. Soks, the giant purple bear, will be on hand, and hot chocolate and cookies will be provided.

ECU students and staff will distribute thousands of positive messages in campus buildings and ECU Transit buses during the S.H.O.E.S. project. The display of positivity is an effort to lift everyone’s spirits during the month of February and to inspire hope.

“The goal is to reassure people that they are not alone and that there are others feeling this way too, so they don’t feel ostracized or lonely,” Miller said. “The college years are sometimes when some of these illnesses and issues come to light as students are working to define who they are. We are trying to educate everyone so they can all be supportive of one another and be aware of resources available.”

For more information, contact Miller at 252-328-4663 or millerc@ecu.edu.

East Carolina University News Services
Howard House, 1001 E. Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-328-6481