During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, organizations spread awareness towards mental health and suicide Prevention
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and events are available for students to join. During this month, people and organizations raise awareness and share information about suicide prevention. An event for NDSU students, “You Don’t have to Do it Alone,” promoted students seeking help when facing mental health struggles.
Suicide Prevention Month first started in 2008. It was created to help connect people to resources and to educate others about those affected by mental health and suicide.
Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of a person’s background. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. According to the CDC, 45,979 people died from suicide in 2020. Suicide is also the 2nd leading cause of death of people between the ages of 10 and 24.
Casey Tallent is the Director of Collegiate and Telebehavioral Health Initiatives for Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center. She is working to eliminate the stigma around mental health and suicide. “We want to change the stigma by normalizing mental health issues and that it is okay to talk about it and get help,” said Tallent, “unfortunately, we know that mental health issues flourish in isolation.”
She encourages people to reach out and seek help if they are experiencing mental health issues. “Having support makes all the difference to someone who is struggling,” said Tallent.
The event on September 28, focuses on ending mental health and suicide stigma for student athletes. This event titled “You Don’t have to Do it Alone,” is a free virtual event. “The founders will be sharing the stories of their loved ones who were student athletes who died by suicide along with lots of resources,” said Tallent.
The Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Center is also hosting a virtual series titled, “Huddling up for Mental Health.” This free event is geared towards college student athletes. “Our hope for this support group is to provide athletes with a safe place to come together to show each other support, gain skills and resources for their mental health,” said Pathlight.
Mental health issues have risen following the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in college students. According to the Jed Foundation Survey of College Student Mental Health in 2020, 63% of college students say that their emotional health is worse than before the Covid-19 pandemic. 71% of students also reported that stress, depression and anxiety have increased due to Covid-19.
Tallent explains that there is a solution to mental health struggles. “By seeking support and help from friends, loved ones, and trained professionals, individuals get better,” said Tallent. It is important for people to form connections with others and check in on other mental health.
Resources for students are available at the NDSU, as well as organizations around the community. The Counseling Center provides free services for students. “There you’ll find professionals who are trained and skilled at working with college students,” said Tallent. The Counseling Center is currently located at the Stop and Go Center. At this location students can also utilize the relaxation room to help students with stress and anxiety.
The NDSU Counseling Center is open and available year round and students can make appointments on their website. Students are also able to join a free support group through the Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Center.
“The important thing is to have open conversations with friends, check in, and see how people are really doing,” said Tallent. “In our field, we have the benefit of seeing individuals seek support, get better, and thrive.”