Posted by Amanda Uhme, Monday, April 18th, 2011 @ 1:16pm
We don’t have trouble asking for help if we have the flu. Making a friend bring you chicken noodle soup from ABP doesn’t seem like a big deal. Demanding a movie to watch while you lie in bed for the weekend coughing up a lung isn’t usually out of the question.
Why can’t we ask for the same help when dealing with a mental illness?
Last week, we lost a fellow student to the tragedy of suicide. As our campus tries to understand what is confusing, cope with what is devastating, and overcome what seems insurmountable, we must try to look to the future.
Because last week’s heartbreak was not an isolated incident. Each year 1,100 college students die by suicide, the second leading cause of death in that age group. And there are measures each and every one of us can take to prevent another incident like this touching GW’s campus.
Most importantly, we can all know the signs of stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts in others and ourselves. Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, study routine, and social interactions can be indicators. As can lasting feelings of hopelessness, despair, or restlessness.
It’s not enough to recognize these signs though. The second, and most important step, is to reach out and to seek help. Hopefully, in the near future, this step will be easier. Students and the administration are currently working on making the University Counseling Center more accessible and affordable for all students. This would be one less barrier to students getting the help they need for better mental health.
Until then, there are resources all around for those feeling depressed, alone, or suicidal. Just a few of these resources are listed under this letter.
You wouldn’t sit around with a sinus infection for three months without getting antibiotics. Why wait to get help for your mental well-being?
So instead of understanding, coping, and overcoming by moving on and forgetting, let us, as a campus, remember. Remember the life of a student that was lost to depression and loneliness. Remember that we ourselves are not alone. Remember that there is no shame in being well.
Remember to reach out. Remember to seek help.
Publicity Chair, Active Minds at GWU
University Counseling Center 202-994-5300
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
Remember writing your connection to mental health on a notecard?
Well we submitted pictures from Glass Thoughts which screened on the side of Lisner Auditorium during National Mental Health Awareness Week to Active Minds and are featured in the Chapter Highlights section of their site!
Depression and the feeling of a lack of support appear to be correlated with suicidal thoughts and behavior in some college students, according to research from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the University of Maryland and other institutions.
The study, funded by AFSP and the National Institutes of Health, and published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, followed more than a thousand students throughout their college years, identifying factors linked to suicidal thinking and highlighting the importance of spotting high-risk students early on and referring them for treatment.
Of the 1,085 students, 151 (12 percent) said they had pondered committing suicide at least once, 37 of whom (24.5 percent) said they did so repeatedly. Ten of the 151 said they made specific plans or carried out full-fledged attempts during college. Two of the 10 said they attempted suicide without ever planning to do so. Of the 151, 17 students reported attempting suicide before college, and 22 reported planning a suicide before college but not attempting it.
Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death among college-age students in the United States, with some 1,100 deaths each year.
The study also showed that students who reported thinking repeatedly about suicide were no more likely to attempt it than those who did so only once. This surprising finding suggests that mental health professionals cannot assume that those who think about suicide more often are at a higher risk, nor are those who have a single suicidal thought necessarily safer than those who ponder suicide repeatedly.
"The results emphasize the need for an anonymous, web-based outreach to all college students, like our Interactive Screening Program," AFSP Medical Director Dr. Paula Clayton said. "Students need be properly screened for the risk factors that can lead to suicide, and then engaged in coming in for an assessment."
For additional information on this study, please contact Dr. Amelia Arria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Amanda Uhme, Friday, September 10th, 2010 @ 10:28pm
If you attended our first general body meeting, you'll know we are attempting to get together a project for October 4th, National Day Without Stigma. In order to make this project work, we are trying to collect a sentence or so from everyone about how mental health has interested them/affected their lives.
If you were at the meeting, you probably handed in a notecard for the project, but if you weren't able to attend, please feel free to respond to the Forum discussion with your connection to mental health. These comments will be posted somewhere on campus in order to show the student body the wide range of relationships people have with mental health and that the stigma attached to mental health is unwarranted.
Don't feel comfortable posting there? Shoot an email out to any of us or to the Active Minds email address (email@example.com).