Nursing alumnus, medical grad student honored for work on suicide prevention
Governor awards Order of the Silver Crescent to Bradley Quarles
By Mollie Roe and Emily Miles
During his sophomore year, nursing student Bradley Quarles lost a family member to suicide. That experience, combined with the medical knowledge he learned in his studies, spurred Quarles to look for ways to prevent suicide and promote mental health on campus.
His work resulted in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number to be included on the back of all University of South Carolina identification cards, and it was the catalyst for the state's Student Identification Card Suicide Prevention Act. This bill, signed in 2021, requires public schools in South Carolina serving grades 7-12 and public and private colleges and universities to provide the Lifeline phone number and an additional crisis resource of their choosing on school-issued student identification cards.
“Every student and employee receive a Carolina Card when they begin UofSC. I thought adding the hotline number to something so prominent on campus would provide an easy access tool for members of the Carolina community,” Quarles said at the time.
Quarles, a College of Nursing alumnus, is now studying to be a certified registered nurse anesthetist at the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia. Gov. Henry McMaster recently awarded him the Order of the Silver Crescent, the state’s most prestigious service award, for his efforts in adding the Lifeline number to the back of Carolina Cards. Quarles is believed to be the first College of Nursing and School of Medicine Columbia student to receive the award.
Since choosing the path of health care as a freshman in college, Quarles has been interested in how health care and politics intersect to improve community health and patient outcomes. He spent the summer of 2017 working as a mayor's fellow for former Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.
"The fellowship working in the mayor's office showed me how nurses can impact the political landscape and why policy is so vital," says Quarles.
Fast forward to 2022, Quarles was joined by his wife, Gaby, his parents and his wife's family at the State House to be awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent by McMaster. The governor spoke about Quarles’ outstanding service work to the university and his state.
"What today means to me, it shows the power of the individual to make an impact. It really highlights the core of who we are, and our core values as health care professionals, as nurses and as a future CRNA. To represent the University of South Carolina, the College of Nursing and the anesthesia program at the School of Medicine Columbia is really important to me. I'm so thankful to Governor McMaster for extending this welcome to us," Quarles said.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices. The Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255.
Banner photo by Paige Stiles, School of Medicine Columbia
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