June 26, 2019 | 75° F

Suicide Prevention Month starts conversation about self-care

National Suicide Prevention Month is coming to an end, but the discussion on campus is far from over. Suicide prevention is a topic that, unfortunately, many people are afraid to discuss because of the various stigmas attached to it, but resources at Rutgers University can help weaken those barriers. 

According to the  Suicide Prevention Resource Center, "suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 20- to 24-year-olds.” There are many resources available for those struggling with suicidal thoughts or tendencies on campus that all students have access to.

The issue has also garnered unique, national attention this year after Logic's live performance at the Video Music Awards. The award-winning rap artist performed his hit track "1-800-273-8255" about his own struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts.

The performance was followed by a monologue encouraging the audience and viewers at home to join in the conversation and promote awareness about suicide prevention. 

At Rutgers, the Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is a primary resource for those looking for information about prevention and offers a wide range of resources for those struggling with mental illness. 

Some of these services include individual counseling, group therapy, specified workshops, crisis hotlines/textlines, on-call counselors, drug and alcohol counselors and student and faculty based training for mental health awareness. 

Annmarie Wacha-Montes, the assistant director for Community Based Services at CAPS, said that “one size doesn’t fit all” when referring to what treatment works best for each individual student. 

CAPS offers a wide range of services so that students have an option to discover what form of treatment is the most effective for their own individual needs. 

“Let’s Talk" is a program offered at 10 different locations across campus including all four cultural centers. The program is a free drop-in service that caters to each student’s individual needs and concerns regarding their mental health. 

The wonderful thing about “Let’s Talk” is that the counselors on site are aware of any specific cultural components or academic components that may accompany each student’s struggles.  According to the Huffington Post, part of the reason there is so much stigma attached to mental health is related to specific cultural and academic components that certain students grew up learning and adapting to.

“Our suicide prevention efforts go way beyond one month to spread awareness,” Wacha-Montes said. 

Aside from the services offered at CAPS, there is also a Crisis Textline that students can text at any time of the day. Students can text the number 741-741 if they are feeling hopeless or just want to talk. Another resource in case of emergency is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255), which is also available 24 hours a day.

It is important to know what warning signs to look for within yourself or a friend that may be struggling with suicidal ideation.

According to the American Association of Suicidology some of the acute warning signs are, “threatening to hurt or kill himself/herself, talking of wanting to hurt or kill himself/herself, looking for ways to hurt or kill himself/herself, talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide."

When speaking about what the sole component of suicide prevention is, Wacha-Montes said that “feeling like you belong and connecting with other people” serve as some of the key factors that people lack in their lives when feeling suicidal. 

“Your heart not only beats for yourself, but it beats for everyone around you,” she said.  

Julia Teters

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