BY GHADEER ALARADI, Student Life Editor
Myth: Suicide doesn’t happen all that frequently; it only affects a few people. Truth: According to the CDC, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. It is also, the third leading cause of death among teenagers.
These are some of the myths debunked with facts during Suicide Prevention Week held by the Association of Students in Psychology and Alliance for DisAbility Awareness. The signs were passed out that contains myths and facts on the University Center stage on Monday, March 30.
Students passing by took signs and held up on their neck to raise awareness about suicide myths and facts. There was also a board that said, “Mental Health is..” where students wrote what they thought.
Some ideas that students wrote were, “reflecting on what makes you happy,” “being able to think clearly,” “being comfortable in your own skin,” “sleeping all day,” amongst many more.
The next day of Suicide Prevention Week was, “Ask a Question, Save a Life,” which discussed how to approach colleagues or students when concerned about their well being.
“Kochoff A was full. I’ve never seen it that packed,” said Najat Nahshal, President of the Associations of Students in Psychology.
When asked about how to approach loved ones about the topic, Nahshal explained to ask them upfront about how they feel. “People who are suicidal are more likely to talk to a friend or a loved one rather than a counselor,” she said.
On Wednesday, April 1 they hosted a Symptoms and Prevention Panel in Fairlane Center North. The panel discussed the symptoms of suicide and ways to prevent it.
They also hosted a Questionnaire on Thursday, April 2 in CASL.
On Friday, April 3, they screened a film titled “Seven Pounds.” The movie, starring Will Smith, is about a man seeking redemption by dramatically transforming the lives of seven people he doesn’t know.
The hashtag #DontJustStandThere was used during the campaign to raise awareness about taking action. “It’s geared towards people who are suicidal and bystanders to help themselves and other people,” said Nahshal.
According to Nahshal, there has never been a suicide prevention week on campus. “Veterans, the LGBTQ community, and college students are more at risk to becoming suicidal, and we want to prevent that,” she said.
“One of the reasons we brought this campaign to campus is to show people that they are not alone,” said Saja Almusawi, Vice President of the Association of Students in Psychology. “If they or anyone else they know are having suicidal thoughts; we want them to know the facts, we want to provide them with resources, and we want to offer them support.”
Another myth that Almusawi pointed out is that having suicidal thoughts lead to a mental health disorder, but that is not true. She explained that 10-18 percent of people have had suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.
“Just because you thought about it, doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to go through with it,” said Almusawi. “That can be relieving to some people who might think that they are all alone.”
The faculty from the psychology department also offered extra credit to their students for attending one of the events. According to Nahshal, they have done a phenomenal job planning the campaign and supporting the organization by telling their students to attend.
“How professional this campaign was goes to show our hard work months ahead paid off. Also all the support from faculty advisors and counselor centers really showed throughout the week,” said Nahshal. “It was so touching to see everyone coming together for a great cause.”