Awareness or confusion?

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.


This week marks the 38th annual National Suicide Prevention Week. Murray State has seen its share of the tragedy as recently as last Spring in a very public and dramatic case that shook the Murray State community to its core.

In response, University officials have made counseling services a focal point and have posted signs and posters across campus giving students vital information on their services.

We applaud this effort to reach out to troubled students dealing with difficulties on campus. The Office of Student Affairs has done a good job of making counseling information avaliable and ubiquitous on campus.

We take issue with one poster in particular, which we seem to see more than any other on campus. The poster presents a skyview with the sun shining from one cloud to another; the top of the poster has the word “sucide” with more words below, “It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Let us help you explore other options.”

Maybe we’re being picky, but we feel there are real issues with the poster. The imagery of the poster – clouds and the shining sun, seem to present a view of the great beyond, the afterlife. That is not something you want to conjure up in the minds of those with suicidal thoughts.

The words that follow only compound the problem with the poster. When talking about suicide, would the word “solution” enter into the discussion?

Does belittling what the distressed student is feeling or is dealing with as “temporary” really do them any favors?

The suicidal thoughts, depression and other issues that many students face are anything but ”temporary.” In many cases, suicide is the end result of a series of problems or depressive disorders that consistently plague those who ultimately end their own lives.

University officials have their hearts in the right place on this issue, but their heads in the clouds.

“It glorifies suicide by putting a sunbeam through the ad,” said Dylan West, junior from Benton,?Ky. The imagery and the presentation of these posters to the student body, and especially to distressed students having trouble at Murray State will likely have a neglible or negative effect in students seeking help for whatever problems they may face.

We want to make it clear that we support what the Office of Student Affairs is trying to do here, but we would prefer a more thoughtful and considerate approach to this important and painful issue going forward.

Students must be made aware of counseling services in ways that help them use them.