We are currently in the midst of Suicide Prevention Week. Many student organizations and other programs offered by UConn, such as the UConn Wellness Center and the UConn Mental Health Center, have risen to the occasion. For instance, Active Minds at UConn hosted a lecture given by Wade Davis, a former National Football League (NFL) player, public speaker and consultant on gender, race, and orientation equality. In the lecture, Wade discussed the intersection of gender, race and mental health. The UConn Wellness Center is also hosting an ongoing event from Sept. 24 to 28 called the “Mindfulness Wheel,” to promote “mindfulness practices and self-care” to students and members of the UConn community.
Participation of various organizations on campus promotes the notion that students who are struggling with mental illness or suicidal thoughts are supported at UConn, whether they seek help from fellow students or from faculty members.
Leila Gallupe, a member of Active Minds at UConn, said, “It’s a good thing that so many people participate in suicide prevention week because it sends a message that as a community we care about each other, so if you’re going through a rough time you know that all these people are going to be here to support you.”
If the community reaches out to students, or makes itself a known approachable source of support for students, those who are suffering will be more likely to reach out more.
“If people know they aren’t alone and they have people to help them through their struggles they’re probably less likely to try to end their own life,” Gallupe said.
While Suicide Prevention Week highlights the importance of supporting those who need help, we as a community should strive to do this every week.
Suicide Prevention Week is not only beneficial to students, but for the entire UConn community, staff members and students alike. Suicide prevention advocacy can be very powerful if people work together to raise awareness and take measures to prevent suicide and promote mental health on campus.
Megan Seferian, a member of the UConn Women’s Center, said, “The whole community should participate (in Suicide Prevention Week) because depression is an illness that affects the entire community and each one of us should feel a moral obligation to make everyone around us feel loved and supported.”
If students and faculty all offered a helping hand to those in need, UConn would be a much stronger community and source of support for students who struggle with mental health or suicidal thoughts.