“Speak with your loved ones. Let them know what’s going on,”
Courtney Buzzell

Wayne State’s School of Social Work and Counseling and Psychological Services hosted a World Suicide Prevention Day event on Gullen Mall on Sept. 7.

At this event, students, staff and faculty could sign their names or a name of a loved one on one of the four paper candles to raise awareness for an issue that is usually kept in the dark.

Sept. 10 is the actual World Suicide Prevention Day, but with WSU being heavily a commuter school, the university thought it would be wise to have it a few days before to raise awareness, especially among students who are under a lot of stress with the beginning of a new school year.

“Students feel the stress [of college], and the more events we do like this one, the more they can seek help,” Shantalea Johns, the academics services officer at the School of Social Work and a member of the Anti-Stigma Committee, said.

According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. More than 1,000 suicides occur on college campuses each year, according to Emory University.

While the topic of suicide has not been on the forefront of the media recently, it received national and international attention when, rapper Logic, with the help of other artists, Alessia Cara and Khalid, performed his song at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, which has the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number as its title, “1-800-273-8255.”

Patricia Dixon, a clinical staff member at CAPS and co-chair of the Anti-Stigma Committee gave some insight on the limited coverage mental illness gets.

“It’s a personal thing,” Dixon said. “For many years groups saw it as embarrassing.”

Nakita Currie, a Master of Social Work student, gave advice to those who are struggling in seeking help.

“Speak with your loved ones. Let them know what’s going on,” Currie said, “A lot of individuals are struggling with suicidal thoughts and it’s under the radar.”

The event gave students, staff and faculty more information about a useful resource on campus: CAPS.

CAPS provides free counseling for WSU students and is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services. No health insurance is required and the services are completely confidential. They have personal, couple and group counseling sessions.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, please seek help at CAPS or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

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