“Nearly half of all college students say they felt so depressed that they found it difficult to function in the past school year,” said Taryn Lentz, psychology intern with Counseling and Psychological Services. “Untreated depression and suicide are the leading causes of death among college students. However, suicide is preventable.”
Lentz was instrumental in launching You’re Irreplaceable, a campus-wide and online suicide prevention and mental health awareness campaign that took place last week. While completing her doctoral internship at FIU, Lentz felt that providing students with educational materials allows them to recognize warning signs in themselves and others, particularly during times of added stress, like finals week. You’re Irreplaceable t-shirts were given to students, and they were encouraged to change their Facebook profile photos to the You’re Irreplaceable logo to bring awareness to suicide prevention.
“Going to college can be a difficult transition period in which students feel lost, lonely and confused,” Lentz said. “One in ten college students have considered suicide. But anyone can help prevent suicide by learning how to effectively intervene by providing support and referring the suicidal person to a crisis intervention agency.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP A SUICIDAL FRIEND
Remain calm. Acting shocked may make your friend feel uncomfortable sharing their feelings with you.
Ask. Are you having thoughts of suicide?
Listen. Allow expression of feelings.
Be supportive. Express concern for your friend’s well-being.
Be non-judgmental. Be careful not to deny or minimize your friend’s pain.
Be honest. Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Tell your friend you need to tell someone who can help.
Instill hope. Reassure your friend that help is available and that pain is temporary.
Be available. Ensure that the person is surrounded by supportive others.
Take action. Remove means for self-harm (e.g., pills, weapons, etc.).
Get help. Contact one of the crisis intervention agencies listed below.
Suicide Prevention Resources
- CAPS (MMC): 305-348-2277
- CAPS (BBC): 305-919-5305
- University Police (MMC): 305-348-5911
- University Police (BBC): 305-919-5911
- Switchboard of Miami: 305-358-HELP (4357)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
In an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.