Suicide Prevention Week Helps to Raise Awareness

Friday, September 2, 2011

Efforts to prevent suicide and help students with mental health issues begin on Sept. 5 at UWG.

“We have found that events are a back door way of getting students to talk about mental health,” said Donjanea Williams, a licensed professional counselor at the Student Development Center.

Starting Sept. 5, students will be able to go to the Lifeline Gallery to create avatars and share their stories anonymously. The students will also be able to share their stories by e-mailing them to prevent@westga.edu.

With the motto of “Know the signs. Be the Help. Save a Life,” organizers want to raise awareness – and reduce the stigma – about mental health issues and create a safe space for students.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths between the ages of 15 and 24.

“For a lot of students, this is a very vulnerable time in their lives,” Williams said.

On Tuesday, students will get green, purple and yellow Mardi Gras beads from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the UCC.

The colors have meaning: green, “I have struggled with mental health disease myself;” purple, “I have lost someone I care about to suicide;” and yellow, “I support the cause.”

The efforts are funded with a three-year, $300,000 federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

For more information go to: www.westga.edu/prevent.

Other events:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Townsend Center: Mental Health Panel. Mental health professionals respond to students’ anonymous questions about suicide prevention and mental health.
  • Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom: Movie Night, “Prozac Nation.”
  • Friday, Sept. 9, National Suicide Prevention Day, E-Skills Podcast of “The Truth About Suicide: Real Stories of Depression in College.” Go to www.westga.edu/prevent to download.