Accepted for services rendered everywhere from the gates of Williams-Brice Stadium to the checkout at Thomas Cooper Library, the CarolinaCard is undoubtedly a utility player.
And through a simple email correspondence, third-year nursing student Bradley Quarles may have given USC’s iconic plastic token another function: saving lives.
Quarles, who serves as president of the College of Nursing’s chapter of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing, had an idea over holiday break. With mental health issues a constant problem on college campuses, students could fall into suicidal thought at any time, especially when alone. Since each student at USC is issued a CarolinaCard, Quarles figured, printing the phone number of a suicide hotline on each card would give each student access to emergency counseling regardless of their surroundings.
Last month, Quarles contacted the CarolinaCard office via email and asked if it would be possible to print the phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) on future cards. When he didn’t receive initial confirmation, Quarles reached out a second time and was pleased to the number would be printed on all CarolinaCards effective immediately.
“All it really took was an email,” Quarles said with a laugh.
Quarles said he found it important to “safeguard” against mental health complications. He also credited his background in the field of nursing as an influence.
“I just want to make people feel as though we’re looking out for them,” Quarles said. “That’s kind of the role of a nurse: We advocate for people even though we don’t know them.”
Individuals seeking help with suicidal thoughts can reach the NSPL at 1-800-273-8255. Operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.