Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Council seeks to raise awareness

By Jamie Sapp | Editor-in-Chief

September is nationally recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in the United States. To bring awareness of suicide prevention, the Student Wellness Council, along with the Counseling Center, participated in various activities at Augusta University.

The Student Wellness Council and the Counseling Center joined together on Sept. 7 for the World Suicide Prevention Day Table in the JSAC Breezeway.

Sept. 10 marks as World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people with suicidal thoughts and suicide occurring frequently.

President of Student Wellness Council and senior kinesiology major Blessing Eka said counselor Elizabeth Humphrey from the Counseling Center worked well with the SWC by providing supplies and giveaways at the table to bring awareness about suicide prevention.

“It’s a very, big topic on campus,” Eka said. “We’ve had a couple of deaths in the school. I’m not sure if it was related to suicide, but I know it had to do with something psychological.”

The Counseling Center also provided the QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training on both the Summerville and Health Sciences campus for people to know warning signs of suicidal behavior and refer it on campus.

Senior education major Gareth Karpel said the council wanted to make sure people understand to seek a friend’s help, even if they wanted to be anonymous.

“Sometimes, you will be the last person that could make an impact,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of students are aware with all the stress everything adds up and depression is a real thing.”

Suicides, including gun suicides, are a huge problem in the U.S. According to a New York Times article published on October 8, 2015, more than 60 percent of people in the country who died from guns died in suicide.

When asked about the connection with suicide and gun violence, Karpel said it is surprising that women are the highest users of guns in suicide.

“To me, that’s shocking,” he said. “That means that there’s definitely something not being addressed… or whatever it may be. Any of those statistics, when you look at them, is very surprising – and it should lead to more discussion and questions.”

With students getting concerned about finals and exams, Eka said it gets stressful.

“With family values, and ‘you have to go to school and you have to do this,’ it just takes a toll,” she said. “We just wanted to build a platform and get students to know that it is okay to talk. Get it out. Don’t keep it bottled in.”

Not only is September recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Eka said September is also Emotional Wellness Month.

In honor of National Women’s Health Day, the Student Wellness Council is hosting a yoga day event on Sept. 28 for students from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the JSAC Hardy Room.

Contact Jamie Sapp at jsapp270@augusta.edu.

Published on October 5, 2016 in Vol. 59, Issue 1 of The Bell Ringer newspaper.

If you are experiencing difficulties or having suicidal thoughts, seek help at the Counseling Center on both the Summerville and Health Sciences campus. If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911.

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