By Karen Wickline, Macomb psychology professor
The sad fact is many of us have been touched by suicide. It may have involved someone we loved, someone we admired, or someone we never met. I lost an uncle to suicide, so I know all too well that those left behind want to know what, if anything, could have been done to prevent it.
That is the question we attempt to answer during Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week, Sept. 9-13. Since its inception a few years ago, it has been timed to coincide with World Suicide Day, which is observed on Sept. 10. Suicide, after all, is a global concern, with college students among the most vulnerable to the sadness and helplessness that lead up to it. The Stomp Out Suicide exhibit (a photo of last year’s seen here) on South Campus speaks to that, with old shoes carrying the bios of one of the approximately 1,100 college students who take their life each year in the U.S.
Throughout the week, there will also be a student-created Mental Health Exhibit in the South Campus Library and a Remembrance Wall in the student centers for posting tributes to those who have died before their time. Films to be shown at South and Center campuses include: Angst, Suicide: The Ripple Effect, It’s Real: College Students and Mental Health and Into the Light. There will also be free workshops exploring animal-assisted therapy, suicide warning signs and risk factors, breathing techniques for relieving stress, yoga, meditation, self-love and first-aid training.
As a society, awareness is our best hope for preventing suicide. And knowing how to keep stresses and anxieties in check will go a long way toward protecting your own mental health. So won’t you please visit one of the exhibits or join us at a workshop or film viewing during the week of Sept. 9?
I hope you never have to say that you were glad you did.