Individuals struggle with mental health and suicidal thoughts every day. As October and midterms creep up on you, remember the campus resources that are available to you and seek help for yourself and your friends if needed.
According to the American College Health Association, suicide is the third leading cause of death of 15 to 24-year-olds and the second most common cause of death among 25 to 34-year-olds. Although universities have made great efforts to advocate for students’ mental health and suicide prevention, many students remain hesitant to reach out for help and support. It’s important to measure the prevalence of mental illnesses in order to raise awareness, stop the stigma and to show that no one is alone.
So, what can you do to help a friend who may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness? The Suicide Prevention Lifeline suggests to “Use the Do’s and Don’ts”.
DO: Use your active listening skills. Don’t just listen to reply; really hear the person. DO: Keep a neutral, non-judgmental tone and avoid negative labels. DO: Get involved in organizations that reduce stigma to show support. DO: Take action; get help from people specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. DO: Follow up with those you are concerned about. DO: Ask if the person has a plan. Asking about suicidal thoughts WILL NOT plant the idea in someone’s mind.
DON’T: Act shocked when someone shares thoughts of suicide with you. DON’T: Be sworn to secrecy. Seek support from your resources. DON’T: Debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether their feelings are good or bad. DON’T: Lecture them on the value of life.
A couple of weeks ago, BU had a Mental Health Awareness Fair and several campus partners and student organizations attended to show their support for awareness and stigma reduction. Here is what the organizations and campus resources want you to know about supporting students’ mental health.
McDowell Institute Training Support – This is dedicated to supporting the social, emotional and behavioral wellness of BU’s students and future educators. Since 2012, they have facilitated learning experiences such as Gatekeeper QPR Suicide Prevention Training and Youth Mental Health First Aid for Bloomsburg University students, faculty and staff. They also host annual campus-wide events, such as the Mental Health Awareness Fair, and bring in guest speakers to talk about their experiences with mental health.
Health and Wellness and DAWN – This office encourage you to think about ways to relieve stress in a healthy way, such as exercise or sleep. Short term fixes, like alcohol or marijuana, are satisfying for a moment but won’t provide healthy habits and wellness in the long run. Health educator visits are also available.
The Women’s Resource Center – A women-empowered space whose goal is to raise awareness for survivors of sexual assault, and to support students after traumatic experiences. The Women’s Resource Center is a judgement-free zone.
Military Affairs LC – This learning community supports the student military population. Event attendees want students to be aware of the language they use when talking to others with military backgrounds. For example, you can ask, “Why did you join the military?” or, “Have you ever been deployed?”
Multicultural Center – This is a student empowered organization across from the game room in Kehr Union. Students Alex Gooden and Marvin Guerrier were at the fair promoting the acceptance of all students regardless of cultural background.
If you or a friend is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, please contact The Student Counseling Center at (570)-389-4255.