By: Kaila Trowbridge
September is National Suicide Awareness Month and it is important for people to know how to handle a friend, family member, or peer that is struggling with mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 20 years. Over 47,000 people have died by suicide in 2017, and it is estimated that for every person who dies by suicide, 280 more people are serisouly considering it. It is every person’s responsibility to be educated on what to do in that kind of situation.
USM campus counselor Dr. Christina Dunn Carpenter says, “One of the single most important things you can do to help someone who is suicidal is to listen and be there for them. Another important thing you can do is to connect them to supportive resources.”
There are many programs and resources available to someone having suicidal thoughts, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. There are 161 crisis centers that are open 24/7 to listen to anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental/emotional distress. See below for more information.
Educating yourself and others about how to sit with someone who is suicidal is a crucial first step in this process. Programs like the JED Foundation are a great tool to getting that information. It follows the process; Ask.Listen.Refer. This process can help someone get the help they need to get back on track.
There are many resources on campus that are also open to helping anyone having with mental health issues. Campus counseling, campus ministry, campus safety, and many faculty are open to helping any person who needs help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Kaila Trowbridge is a senior at the University of Saint Mary and is studying Digital Communications.