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January 19, 2016

Penn State senior class gives gift of mental health

Seniors are raising money for endowment for the school's counseling services center

Education Mental Health
Penn State Gene J. Puskar/AP

This is Old Main on the Penn State University campus Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in State College, Pa.

When the seniors of Pennsylvania State University voted on a class gift, they didn't choose something you could touch, like a bench or a mural. Instead, this year, they chose the gift of health.

Seniors are raising money for an endowment of up to $250,000 for Penn State's mental health services center, reports

"To be in a class that basically says, 'I don't care what it does for me, I care what it does for others,' is amazing," senior Ramon Guzman Jr., the executive director of the senior class gift campaign, told the website. He told he survived a suicide attempt early in his college career but found help from the university's services.

The money will go to Penn State's Counseling and Psychological Services center, which sees 3,600 students a year at the University Park campus.

Students voted for the class gift in October. The other choices were a mural on the theme of diversity or a mosaic about school pride.

The money is dearly needed. College counseling centers across the nation saw an almost 30 percent increase in the number of students seeking help in six years, according to a 2015 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health. A third of students in counseling have reported seriously considering suicide, a jump from five years ago, when less than one-fourth of students in counseling revealed those feelings.

Read the full story here.