By: Keylee Fillingim | Contributing Writer
Last Thursday, Sept. 26, student organization, Active Minds, discussed suicide prevention at its third meeting in the Student Center. Active Minds is an organization that creates a safe haven for students to learn and talk about mental health and provide resources for them.
The month of September is suicide prevention month. Active Minds president, Brandon Raines, and Associate Director of Counselling Services Darleen P. Dempster discussed the importance of seeking out help for those struggling with suicidal tendencies, as well as recognizing signs of suicidal thoughts in others.
“If you are having ideation, it’s good to seek out support,” said Dempster.
Students discussed how to help someone at risk of taking their own life. Topics like who you should call, how to talk to them, and how to get help were discussed.
Nursing student Ashley Smith took the floor to discuss how she deals with the grief of a sibling who has taken their life.
Late Christmas night 2018, Ashley received news that her brother had taken his life, via phone call. One day after his funeral, she started nursing school. Smith shared that being busy doesn’t give you time to grieve. Smith said she is a prime example of “complicated grief.”
Smith lost her dad six years ago. She and her brother had a strong bond; they were “tit-for-tat.” She learned her father and brother both dealt with manic depression and suicidal thoughts.
“I think a lot of people maybe look over siblings,” said Smith, “you know that lose a sibling to suicide.”
Smith encouraged the audience to speak up. She shared just being with someone can make a difference because even though people look happy, it does not mean they are happy. She referenced comedian and actor, Robin Williams who took his own life Aug. 11, 2014.
“I think just being in the presence of somebody who’s feeling down… feeling like life is just isn’t going to get any better, whether you say anything or not,” Smith said. “I think that it’s important for you to let them know regardless you are there.”
Raines and Dempster talked with the audience about being a friend to those at risk.
Everyone agreed that being a friend and listening is an important factor to begin with helping someone who is struggling with suicide.
“We all need each other,” Dempster joked. “Nobody is growing their own food in the backyard.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal or other difficult thoughts, don’t hesitate to call one of the numbers below for help.
USA Student Health Center: (251) 460-7151
National Suicide Prevention 24-hour Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
LGBTQ+ The Trevor Project 24-hour Hotline: 1-866-488-7386