Campus event to educate on suicide prevention

In the time it takes a person to watch an average TV commercial, someone, somewhere has lost a battle.

Every 40 seconds, someone takes their own life. This statistic adds up to approximately 800,000 people a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

During the second week of September, people from around the globe participate in different activities, lectures and events to raise awareness for issues such as depression and suicide.

Groups and organizations like the WHO and To Write Love On Her Arms work to educate people on the stigmas surrounding suicide and depression during World Suicide Prevention Week.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 15 percent of graduate and 18 percent of undergraduate students have seriously considered attempting suicide.

These statistics show that the issue is relevant to college campuses, and that Murray State is no exception.

“September is a month that is dedicated to raising awareness of a variety of issues on college campuses such as safety, depression, suicide and sexual assault,” said Abigail French, director of the Women’s Center. “Suicide Prevention week gives us a chance to join the national initiative, but also have a general focus on resources available to students.”

To direct students, faculty and staff to the right sources, The Women’s Center will host an event called “Speak Out” on the Carr Health Building lawn Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“Speak Out” invites students to be actively involved in suicide prevention through games, quizzes and prizes.

“We’re working on a series of life-size board games for students to play and learn about the resources available on campus,” French said. “There will be giveaways, prizes and plenty of information for students and faculty.”

Campus will also be decorated with cardboard life preservers with helpful tips and statistics associated with suicide prevention.

French’s goal for Suicide Prevention Week is to raise awareness about the campus resources, but also to help students feel less skeptical about using those resources.

“The idea is to raise awareness about resources,” French said. “(Depression) is a common occurrence on college campuses and it is OK to reach out and ask for help. I think it is also important that they have a face to associate with the counseling center so they feel more comfortable to ask for help.”


Story by Hunter Harrell, Features Editor