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Helping Hands

April 12, 2018

 

Union Board and Counseling Center host suicide awareness event

 

MORGAN BERNARD

Managing Editor | mrb056@latech.edu

 

Rainy weather did not stop Louisiana Tech students from going to Howard Auditorium April 3 to show their support in promoting suicide awareness on campus.

 

The suicide awareness event, hosted by Union Board and Tech’s counseling center, consisted of guest speakers offering advice about dealing with suicide, acted out scenarios of how to offer help to someone else who is struggling and a musical performance by music artist Krigare’.

 

Ron Cathey, director of the career and counseling center, spoke about how bringing suicide awareness to Tech is important, as suicide is something that affects the university personally.

 

“In our experience at the counseling center this year, Tech’s campus has experience more suicidal ideation than we have ever seen in our history,” Cathey said.

 

He said he was grateful for the event’s turnout and hoped everyone who attended learned something new from the speakers and performances.

 

“One of our purposes was to engage in a time like this where we can build hope,” Cathey said. “We want to encourage every person here. We wanted to show how you talk to somebody whose life might be falling apart, what to say and how you make that happen.”

 

Cathey, along with other speakers from the counseling center, offered information on services available at Tech’s counseling center, tips on how to identify someone who is suicidal and tips on how to talk to that person and understand them.

 

“Most people know what CPR is,” Cathey said. “We want people to know QPR: ask questions, persuade someone to stay alive and then refer them to get the proper help.”

 

Robert Burt, associate director of the career and counseling center, explained there is no one reasoning or one type of loss that brings up depression or suicidal thoughts.

 

“Loss comes in many shapes and sizes,” he said. “There is loss of a relationship, freedom, self respect and loss of a loved one, just to name a few. All losses can take a colossal toll on who we are and what we are.”

 

Burt said when being confronted by a hard loss, everyone has a decision to make in how they react to it.

 

“In the grieving process we have two choices,” he said. “We can select the dark choice where you get caught up in the sadness and darkness, or you can choose the side of inside revelation and understanding.”

 

Musical artist Krigare’ travelled from Nashville, Tennessee to perform at the suicide awareness event. She said being a part of this event was important to her, as she has experienced her own battles in life with suicide and depression. Between performing songs, Krigare’ told the audience her personal story.

 

“I’m a two-time cancer survivor, and these last three years have been a crazy journey,” she said. “It was obviously a journey I did not choose, but I would not be who I am right now today without it.”

 

Krigare’ said that while suicide is a serious topic and is usually something people tend to avoid talking about, the awareness event was also meant as a time for celebration.

 

“My story is about overcoming battles and bringing empowerment to people,” she said. “Choosing life is something to celebrate, and in my story I chose life, so I am also here to celebrate life and share that.”

 

Krigare’ also talked about her harder times during her battle with cancer and how she overcame them.

 

“The hardest part for me was not only was my life being devastated, but my entire community around me was falling apart,” she said. “I had those thoughts of ‘if only this could be over’ and ‘if I would just die already everything would be fine,’ and that’s not true. The people around me loved me so much that that would have made it worse for them. Going through cancer is recoverable; losing someone forever is pretty hard to recover from.”

 

Krigare’ explained how she still personally works with mental issues from her time with cancer even though the physical part of it is over.

 

“I still don’t have everything together,” she said. “I still have panic attacks; I still wake up feeling depressed sometimes and feeling those things, but I’m finding things that work for me and help me find my new normal.”

 

The suicide statistical data in America can be staggering:

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds

More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all medical illnessess combined.

The suicide rate peaks among young adults (ages 20-24).

One in 12 U.S. college students make suicide plans.

Nearly 4,000 people are 15-24 die by suicide each year in the United States.

Everyday, approxomately 80 Americans take their own life and 1,500 more attempt to do so.

There are more than four male suicides for every female suicide, but twice as many females than males attempt suicide.

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