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Suicide Prevention Week: What to watch and read

By Lucy Fisher

Did you know...

  • 6% of college students have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

  • Since the 1950s, the suicide rate has tripled among young adults aged 15-24.

  • 1.5 out of 100 college students has attempted suicide.

  • 2 times as many young men commit suicide as compared with young women.

  • 12 people aged 15-24 will commit suicide today?  That’s one every 2 hours.

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students.

September 5-9, 2016 is Suicide Prevention Week and during this week, 1,100 flags across Kennedy Union’s field will remember the college students who lost their lives to suicide.  The Counseling Center will have tables of information and resources around campus, and a Speaker Series event featuring Frank Warren, author of Post Secret, will take place on Thursday evening.  How can we start the conversation on campus and end the silence?  The Libraries have several resources available that might help get that conversation going.

Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why explores the impact of suicide on others.  Clay Jenson returns home from school to find a box of cassette tapes - each one numbered - from his classmate and crush, Hannah, who committed suicide two weeks earlier.  On tape, Hannah explains her reasons why she made the decision to end her life and Clay has to listen to find out the role he played.  Asher said he wrote the book because so many people have trouble stepping beyond their own opinions about certain subjects to explore the lives of others.  Readers’ reactions from the book’s website include: “It shows people that there is always someone to talk to, always someone who cares.”  And “this book really opened my eyes to how one simple action can change a person’s life. This is why this book made me think that if I am kind to everyone around me, maybe I can change someone’s life.”  Jay Asher included a discussion guide and and answered thirteen questions about the book to help continue the conversation after you’ve turned the last page.

Brene Brown’s Rising Strong explores how people recover from the catastrophes of life, personal and professional, and become more wholehearted and vulnerable.  Brown’s research is about what happens when we fall facedown into failure and the consequences of the choices we make in those facedown moments.  Brown says “those are the moments that made me; those are the moments of struggle.”  Rising Strong is chock full of inspirational quotes to help you learn to cultivate courage and learn to rise strong: “...sometimes when we are beating ourselves up, we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, "Man, I'm doing the very best I can right now."  “We don't have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.” “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”  If you enjoy Rising Strong, you also might enjoy Brown’s Daring Greatly, also available at Roesch Library.

If you’re more of a movie person, watch The Choice of a Lifetime: Returning from the Brink of Suicide available through Roesch Library’s streaming movie database, Kanopy.  Six people, aged 21 to 73, share their stories.  They were willing to share their stories because they believed what they learned may help others and in each interview, they explain what led them to the brink of suicide, what stopped them, and how each person found a way to recover.  Additional films available via Kanopy include: A Life Worth Living, Understanding and Preventing Suicide, and The Hidden Face of Suicide.

The University has resources available on campus if you are experiencing psychological distress.  The Counseling Center is available for crisis intervention during business hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is a therapist assigned to provide crisis intervention during specific hours on a daily basis. If you are in a psychological crisis after regular business hours on weekdays, anytime during a university holiday or weekend, that cannot wait until business hours, do one or more of the following:

  • Contact your R.A. or Fellow

  • Call Public Safety at 937-229-2121 (from cell and non-campus phones) and state that you need to talk to a therapist

  • Call 911 (from campus phones)

  • Go to the nearest emergency room

  • Call Crisis Care at 937-224-4646

- Lucy Fisher, Course Reserves Specialist

The above statistics and more are available here.

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