Aim of Suicide Prevention Week to educate about warning signs
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 22:09
Suicide Prevention Week begins Sept. 17 to start conversation on how to prevent suicide and recognize the symptoms of depression.
This past Monday was Suicide Prevention Day; people took part by writing “love” on their wrists and spreading the message via Facebook. However, UConn has planned a weeklong series of events in order to engage the campus on the issue; complete with the catchy slogan, “Be aware, show you care.”
Next Monday, outside the Student Union, students will place 1,000+ flags along on the lawn representing the suicides that occur on U.S. college campuses each year symbolizing a “Field of Memories.” Also, keynote speaker Christina Wong will perform a humorous piece, “Wong Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” to explore suicides, depression, anxiety and mental illnesses in Asian-American women.
“The goal for suicide prevention week is for each student to intersect with our message at some point this week,” said Interim Director Elizabeth J. Cracco of Mental Health Services. “It’s important to recognize the signs of depression.”
According to Cracco, UConn’s Mental Health Services co-chairs the Suicide Prevention Committee and actively supports “Active Minds,” a program on campus involved in raising awareness about mental health problems and focuses on suicide prevention. Throughout the week there will be opportunities to participate in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer)–“Ask a question, save a life” a suicide prevention training program.
“The more we can be out there, the better we can create a tightly woven safety net,” said Cracco. “Suicide is the second cause of death amongst college students. This age group is at risk. We are very tuned into the issue and have an obligation to engage in prevention education.”
The suicide prevention website provides a detailed list of events that will take place throughout the week to get students involved and spread better awareness of suicide prevention. They also list prevention resources that link back to Mental Health Services.
“We need to talk about [suicide prevention] and know about the warning signs and understand how to approach that person to get them help,” said Sharon Mendes, ACES academic advisor and co-chair of the Suicide Prevention Committee. “It’s important getting the word out and making people aware and starting conversation among students, staff and faculty.”
Mental Health Services alone provides 24-hour on-call services, provides emergency assessments for students and has one-on-one counseling sessions. They offer many programs and serve as a resource for other offices that might be working with students in distress.
“A lot of people nationwide don’t realize that [suicide] can happen on their campus,” said Christine Choi, 5th-semester psychology major. “There are so many programs at UConn that help students be aware for the signs of depression, which is very important.”