By Olivia Digirolamo
On Feb. 22, the department of English held an event at Sacred Heart University for a newly published novel written by alumna Victoria Caputo.
This was held in the McMahon Commons presentation room, where Caputo read excerpts from her book “Trust Me: Through the Eyes of a Survivor.”
Caputo’s book is about mental illness. She informs the uninformed about the various ways to overcome mental illness through her own personal experience. The book is written from the perspective of a survivor.
Professor Sandra Young, who was once Caputo’s professor, presented the introduction and welcomed her to the podium. Caputo’s presentation was directed towards mental illness on college campuses. She discussed how to help friends who are struggling with mental illness and how to cope with mental illness.
“My hope and goal for today is to inspire you guys,” said Caputo.
She also discussed the high dropout rates from colleges due to mental illness.
“I lost my stepdad recently, and I suffer from mental illness. I came today because I can relate to Victoria and her book,” said sophomore Reilly Owens.
Caputo acknowledged the stigma of people being resistant to asking for help. Caputo suggests using resources like the Wellness Center at Sacred Heart.
“I never want anyone to feel alone like I did,” said Caputo.
She even offered her own email address to anyone who may need advice or have any questions.
“I know a lot of people who suffer from mental illness and I thought it would be interesting to hear about her journey,” said sophomore Nicole Forest.
Caputo was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety when she was 13. She also attempted to commit suicide in 2013.
“I loved how open Victoria was with her own personal experiences. I learned how I could be there for someone and help them even though I may not know what they’re going through,” said sophomore Olivia Zwernemann.
Caputo was open about her experiences in her book as well as at the book signing presentation.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), 50 percent of college students rated their mental health below average or poor. NAMI also reported that one in four college students were reported as having suicidal thoughts.
“A lot of people close to me suffer from mental disorders, so this talk was very helpful and gave me a better understanding on how to help those around me who are suffering,” said sophomore Olivia Bucci.
Caputo suggested qualities like being a good listener, paying attention to the ones suffering, and never telling them to get over it. She also emphasized to never be afraid to call a professional for help. An individual has a legal obligation to call a professional if they think their friend is going to hurt themselves or others.
“They say everything happens for a reason. I survived my suicide attempt for a reason, and if the reason isn’t to save other’s lives than I don’t know what it would be,” said Caputo.
Caputo concluded the night with a poem from her book.
“Through happiness, I have smiled. Through sadness, I have cried. Through loss, I have coped. Through adversity, I have overcome. Through life, I will continue to live. Through it all, I will survive,” said Caputo.
Victoria’s book, “Trust Me: Through the Eyes of a Survivor,” can be purchased on Amazon or at the Sacred Heart Bookstore.