By Liz Caples
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of death among college students. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about suicide prevention resources.
As a college student, I know that the pressures of school, work and relationships can be overwhelming. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are people who care about you and want to help. If you are struggling, please reach out to a friend, family member, advisor, or therapist. There is help available. You don't have to go through this by yourself.
Some of the warning signs of suicide include talking about death, feeling hopeless or having no reason to live, withdrawing from friends and family, making changes in personal appearance and giving away belongings. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone you know, please reach out for help immediately.
There are many things that you can do to help prevent suicide. Be an active listener and offer support to friends and family members who may be struggling. Educate yourself about suicide prevention resources. Challenge negative stereotypes about suicide and promote positive mental health messages.
If you are depressed or troubled, talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Seek professional help if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or dial 9-8-8 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. It’s not uncommon to need help sometimes and to ask for support. There is hope.
Suicide is serious, but it is also preventable. By raising awareness and promoting suicide prevention resources, we can save lives.
To learn more about suicide prevention, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We all need help sometimes and we should not be afraid to ask for support.
Liz Caples is a UMGC student pursuing her undergraduate degree in English. She also holds an associate degree in social sciences from Harrisburg Area Community College. She is a strong advocate for mental health awareness and support and serves as an officer of Active Minds at UMGC, a student organization—open to anyone in the UMGC community—that aims to increase awareness around mental health issues and reduce the stigma of mental illness. When she isn't working at her job as an editor's assistant and reporter for a local newspaper, she enjoys drawing, writing and spending time with her three parrots.