North Dakota State Campus Awareness, Referral and Education program for Suicide Prevention (CARES) held a session in the Meadow Room of the Memorial Union on Thursday, Oct. 25.
Marlys Borkhuis, the assistant director of the NDSU Counseling Center and the outreach and training coordinator, and graduate assistant Brandi Carlson, who also works at the Counseling Center on campus, talked about what to do in case you know or suspect someone who may be at risk of taking their own life.
The one-hour session was held to educate individuals on suicide prevention. Students and faculties were free to join the event because the session had no registration requirements and was free to the public.
“(The session) gives them tools to use, ways of talking and feeling, so they can address this instead of avoiding it,” Borkhuis said.
“(The session) gives them tools to use, ways of talking and feeling, so they can address this instead of avoiding it.” – Marlys Borkhuis
Students and faculty members were able to learn statistics and facts about suicide and the common reasons why people take their own life. Many of the attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and participate in the presentation.
According to the statistics, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. Eighty percent of students who died by suicide were not seen by campus mental health service providers. Only 14 percent of college students report receiving suicide prevention information from their schools.
Carlson said she believes it is very important for students to get help because of the age demographics and unique stress in their young lives.
Borkhuis said students who have a pre-existing mental illness, developed a mental illness, lack coping mechanisms or have stopped metal health-related treatments after arriving in college are at an increased risk.
The statistics showed that 90 percent of the students who died from suicide had suffered from one or more psychiatric disorders. Examples included depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and drug or alcohol abuse and dependence.
“Suicide is not predictable in individuals,” Borkhuis said. Students of all backgrounds, cultures and ages can be suicidal. It is encouraged not to dismiss warnings signs.
According to statistics, 20 percent of the population will have someone within their immediate family take their life, and 60 percent of people would know someone who died from suicide outside of their immediate family. “It is important information for people to have in their lives, and it will impact them in some way,” Borkhuis said.
If a person has threatened suicide often or has talked about their suicidal thoughts, attendees were encouraged to talk about it with that person.
Most suicidal people do not want to die, but feel alone, stuck, hopeless and just want the pain to stop. If you know someone who is experiencing suicidal thought, listen, empathize, and be supportive. It is important they know they have family and the community willing to help them, according to the presentation.
More information can be found in the Counseling Center located at Division of Student Affairs 212 Ceres Hall. You can also contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255