North Texas Daily

College Campuses continued silence for suicide prevention month

College Campuses continued silence for suicide prevention month

College Campuses continued silence for suicide prevention month
September 11
09:00 2020

Prevention starts at ideation, not the intent.

This is the message many schools, UNT included, seem to forget when promoting suicide prevention on their campuses. World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10 and it looks like UNT hasn’t gotten the memo given their lack of promotion on social media.

For their credit, the Division of Student Affairs does care about reaching out to students, but only when there is intent. But prevention should be starting before any actionable steps are taken by a student.

Being passively suicidal, while not ideal, is not life-threatening but not an ideal state of living. So that’s the place where harm reduction can truly be done. When in crisis, cognitive function falters, and when a student is in crisis, it can be too late for others to notice.

Just giving students the crisis hotline number is not an effective way of preventing suicidal ideation when many already have a hard time communicating their crisis effectively. Preventing suicide on college campuses requires a systemic approach that is supported by broad campus-wide cooperation.

A key aspect of robust suicide prevention is the assimilation of effective suicide prevention policies and procedures into campus-wide administration, according to guidelines from the California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Program. This includes screening to identify high-risk students and social marketing and education to encourage help-seeking and to reduce stigma.

EDC’s Bonnie Lipton, a campus suicide prevention expert with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, says that many colleges and universities want to do more to prevent suicide.

A good first step is assessing the needs for mental health services on campus. Many health services on college campuses are under-funded due to a lack of need from the student body. Surveys that ask students about their mental health needs and perceptions about counseling are foundational to providing effective services.

They often provide valuable information about the incidence of students’ mental health concerns, how students feel about using their campus counseling service, and who students turn to when they need help.

UNT is taking the necessary steps, but from a student standpoint, they don’t seem too keen on letting other students know what they need to find help.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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