Working Together to Prevent Suicide
Suicide is responsible for over 800,000 deaths each year — that’s one suicide every 40 seconds.
For each suicide, another 25 people make an attempt.
Overall, 108 million people per year are profoundly impacted by suicidal behavior.
We can do better.
This World Suicide Prevention Day, let’s work to stop the stigma around mental health and suicide on Auburn’s campus. Here are some ways you can join in.
Participate in QPR Gatekeeper Training
QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Gatekeeper trainings only take an hour and are often offered as “lunch break” trainings in the student center. You’ll learn to recognize warning signs and prevent a possible tragedy. You can also request training for your organization, department, or class and spread the wealth.
“One of my biggest takeaways from QPR training was how effective asking someone about the state of their mental health can be. We often think that asking a question like ‘Do you have a plan to kill yourself?’ will encourage them to complete the act, but just asking has saved so many lives. It’s crucial to be a listening ear to someone who may be suicidal and to be educated on available resources in order to help that person beyond your individual control.” — senior Evelyn Bostany
Ready to get trained? Auburn Health and Wellness Promotion is hosting a QPR Marathon Training Day on Monday, September 23. There will be hour-long trainings, on the hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Student Center Room 2216 & 2218. It’s open to all students, staff, faculty and community members.
Familiarize yourself with crisis resources
Student Counseling and Psychological Services maintains emergency services throughout the year. After-hours counselors are also available for mental health crises and emergencies after regular business hours, during weekends, or during a holiday. Save their numbers on your phone or bookmark the page so they’re always easily accessible.
Get involved in Active Minds
If you’re ready to commit to make a big impact, consider joining Active Minds, a student organization dedicated to destigmatizing mental health on campus. Each year, they host Mental Wealth Week, Out of the Darkness Walk, National Depression Screening Day, and Suicide Prevention Month. Auburn’s chapter has even been featured on NBC Nightly News.
“People typically communicate that they are in trouble before making harmful decisions.” — Dr. Dustin Johnson, a licensed psychologist at Student Counseling Services and adviser to Auburn’s chapter of Active Minds
Try your best to be perceptive to differences in behavior from your friends and family members. According to Dr. Johnson at an Active Minds suicide awareness event at The Rec in 2016, people may display their distress by exhibiting any number of the following symptoms:
Negative body language
Either heightened emotions or an abnormal tendency to “keep it in”
A negative change in their behavior or appearance
Skipping class or not leaving their room
Disheveled — not taking care of themselves
Sudden decline in personal hygiene
Suddenly giving things away to friends or family
Verbalization: “I don’t want to be here” or “I want to kill myself”
A big event that has prompted sudden negativity (i.e. failing academically, tough break-up, physical assault, illness, family problems, etc.)
Let’s open our ears and our hearts and become safe spaces for people to confide in. We can’t fix or save others, but we can show compassion by guiding them to resources and making sure they know we’re there to support them.
If you’re struggling with your own mental health or suicidal thoughts, seek out Student Counseling. Everyone can benefit from therapy — that’s why each student has access to 10 free individual counseling sessions per academic year.
Be well, Auburn.