Those experiencing suicidal thoughts can find resources if they take initiative to reach out to their campus, community and friends.
Death touches all our lives sooner or later. But suicide is different. The person lost has chosen death, and that fact alone makes a significant difference for those who are left to grieve.
Suicide is a private matter, one that is not commonly spoken about on campus. Those experiencing suicidal thoughts, however, can find resources if they take initiative to reach out to their campus, community and friends.
Students can make themselves available and knowledgeable for their peers and allow them to see the choices that are at hand.
Hannah Roberts, a counselor at the Cal Poly Health Center, said the university is working toward educating students. It is something the center continuously works on, she said, to “make sure that everyone understands the signs and symptoms of suicide, the signs and symptoms of depression, and the ways to intervene and be supportive.”
Programs on campus can also help students learn about suicide prevention.
“In the last couple years, we have started to roll out some really great programs,” Roberts said, “They are fairly new.”
Question, Persuade, Refer, for example, is a brief training course offered to help students who are in contact with a peer considering suicide. It highlights warning signs, clues and suicidal communications of those in trouble, and it also urges friends to act to prevent a possible tragedy.
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training is a more extensive training program. Over the course of two days, the program teaches how to how to recognize suicidal behavior and intervene.
“It is something that we have had 45 students, faculty and staff go through in the last year,” Roberts said.
The curriculum is divided into five learning sections: preparing, connecting, understanding, assisting, and networking. Each section creates awareness of the danger of suicidal thoughts and highlights the importance of taking action to prevent someone from following through on them.
The Active Minds club on campus is another resource available to students. Club members inform those who are interested about mental illness and health, offering them a support system and counseling resources.
The club not only provides a safe environment for those in need, but also raises awareness to students who shy away from mental illness.
“A lot of people think that mental health only applies to those with mental illness,” Ben Norris, a physics junior, said. “However, mental heath is like bodily health. It affects everyone.”
By leaving behind the stigma attached to suicide, it can become a more open conversation, said statistics senior Jessica Watson, the president of Active Minds.
“You should have an attitude of acceptance so that (people) know they can come to you,” Watson said.