Suicide prevention and awareness is an important issue among college students, and I think it needs to be placed above other aspects of the university so we can help save more of our classmate’s lives.
Kennesaw State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services website says that suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 11 to 18. While most college students are above this age range, it does not mean we are shielded from this battle.
We are continually pressured to get good grades, to be involved with campus organizations and to land a job or internship before graduation. Such pressure creates stress and makes it more challenging to live mentally and physically healthy.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an average of 117 people die from suicide daily.
I have watched some of my loved ones struggle with suicidal thoughts and depression, so the statistics break my heart. Students need to know that they are not alone and that their story isn’t over yet.
It has become my mission to do what I can to raise awareness of mental illnesses that can cause suicidal thoughts, including depression.
Last week, KSU hosted National Suicide Prevention Week and held events on campus to help promote suicide awareness. The Counseling and Psychological Services staff offered rapid depression screenings and let students create “hope boxes.”
After decorating these boxes, students can fill them with objects that remind them of hope. They are meant to bring comfort during a dark moment in an individual’s life.
I made one for someone very close to me. I plan on filling her box with candles, a stress ball, a coloring book, gum and even a small stuffed animal — anything that will bring her a moment of peace.
As helpful as National Suicide Prevention Week is, however, not every student knows of the severity of depression and suicidal thoughts.
Yes, dedicating seven days to raising awareness of depression and suicide is helpful, but it should also be mandatory for all students to participate in a lesson on the subject.
Just because students are considered adults does not mean that KSU can turn a blind eye to what students struggle with each day. More should be done to educate students and raise awareness.
If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, you can call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.