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As part of Phi Theta Kappa’s Mental Health Awareness Week project, Paris Junior College students were invited to paint rocks and participate in a scavenger hunt on Tuesday. Eric Juarez wields his brush and paint, and Hanna Vaughan checks her phone after finishing her project. The activities conclude with a forum on mental health awareness and suicide prevention Thursday evening that is free and open to the public.

Each year, the Beta Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, works on projects that benefit the community and Paris Junior College students. This year, PTK is joining with the Student Government Association to host a “Mental Health: Suicide Awareness” forum tonight that is free and open to the public.

“This is a college project,” Beta Zeta president Celia Hagler said. “We felt students needed encouragement and to know PJC cares about them, that PTK is here for them and the counselors are here for them.”

The forum will include mental health specialists Ryan Cooper, Ph.D.; Andrea Perry, LPC; Kathy Floyd, LPC; and Ronikaye Rusak, LPC. Cooper is with Psychology Professionals of Northeast Texas and focuses on forensic psychology and neuropsychology. Floyd is with the Paris Counseling Center, and Rusak is with the Counseling Professionals of Northeast Texas; both provide counseling to children, adults and couples. Perry serves as campus counselor for PJC.

The forum is part of PTK’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, and the organization is hosting other campus daily including art projects, a scavenger hunt, and a chance to “down phones” and practice the art of real conversation.

The free forum will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Ray E. Karrer Theater in the Administration Building, 2400 Clarksville St., Paris. For information about the forum, call 903-782-0433.

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