Photo by Cassandra Bauer
BY ELLIE HILSCHER
National Suicide Prevention Week was Sept. 5-11, and the goal for Drake University was to bring awareness to the students on campus to prevent losing any more lives to suicide.
Last year, around 38 thousand Americans took their lives according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. Several risk factors lead to suicidal actions, according to Diane Eischeid, a counselor at Drake. For example, “depression, substance abuse, prior suicide attempts, family history of violence, and peers that have committed suicide” are all crucial factors to note.
“Suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 15-24,” Eischeid said.
Often someone will not reach out for help because of the stigma society has created around suicide. “You don’t have to feel like anything’s wrong with you,” Student Senator for the Health and Safety Committee Russell White said. “It’s okay to admit that everything’s not okay.”
For some, counseling may be an intimidating idea. “People need to ignore the stigma,” White said. “Counseling is there to help.”
Eischeid agreed that counseling is highly recommended.
“Things change every day,” she said. “By bringing awareness to this topic, we can save lives.”
Both White and Eischeid agree that mental health and suicide awareness need to be significant topics on Drake’s campus.
Over the past week, Olmsted was the main hub for information about National Suicide Prevention Awareness. Student volunteers wrote encouraging messages in chalk on the sidewalks to uplift individuals as they made their way to class.
Counselors were also set up along the main hall of Olmsted to help anyone with questions or concerns over the topic. A wall of remembrance was placed in the hall of Olmsted to bring back memories of loved ones who had taken their own lives and to show that every single person matters.
Suicide is something that people may tend not to talk about because it is a tough topic. However, it is vital for students to know that it is okay to reach out. Drake University’s students have come together to support one another and provide awareness over suicide.
Drake University students in need can contact the counseling center any time at 515-271-3864. If students need immediate help, they can call Drake’s Public Safety at 515-271-2222 or 911 for an emergency.