Sep 01, 2023
According to the 2022-23 Healthy Minds Study, 14% of college students reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year. The University of Connecticut reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among 18- to 24-year-olds and that one in 12 U.S. college students has made a suicide plan. While it’s important to know the data and statistics about suicide, the most important fact to know about suicide? It’s preventable.
Georgia Tech will be participating in National Suicide Prevention Week from Sept. 11 to 15 as part of its commitment to end suicide on campus. This week will feature events, pet therapy, meditation, QPR trainings, and more, as well as encouraging students to take advantage of year-round programs, services, and resources that contribute to their well-being, such as fitness classes, nutrition counseling, and career workshops. The week’s events are centered around two main messages: To those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are not alone; and to those who want to help, you don’t have to be a trained professional to make a difference.
“Research tells us that suicide is among the leading causes of death for young adults and college students, but we also know that with the right self-care efforts and support from others, we can reduce and even eliminate deaths as a result of suicide,” said Luoluo Hong, vice president for Student Engagement and Well-Being. “This is why we are dedicated to shifting the campus culture and placing more emphasis on a holistic approach to promoting health and wellness, using our Cultivate Well-Being Action and Transformation Roadmap as a guide.”
The Center for Mental Health Care and Resources is the primary sponsor for this week’s events, but many other campus organizations have collaborated for the campaign, including Active Minds, Campus Recreation, Housing and Residence Life, Klemis Kitchen, Psi Chi, the Psychology Club, campus QPR instructors, the Student Government Association Mental Health Coalition, and the Wellness Empowerment Center.
“With all these different groups and types of events, some people may wonder, ‘What does pet therapy have to do with suicide prevention?’ or ‘Why are meditation and exercise included in suicide prevention?’” said Andrew Stochel, psychologist and QPR coordinator with the Center for Mental Health Care and Resources. “What many people don’t realize is that there are many contributing factors to suicide risk, like strain and stress, and this week’s events are designed to combat those factors across all Eight Dimensions of Wellness.”
All events are open and free to students, and many will be open to faculty and staff as well. The full schedule of events is:
- Monday, Sept. 11: Acts of kindness giveaways at various times and locations across campus.
- Tuesday, Sept. 12: Pet therapy from noon to 2 p.m. at the John Lewis Student Center.
- Wednesday, Sept. 13: Tabling event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tech Walkway.
- Thursday, Sept. 14: Meditation class from 4:15 to 4:45 p.m. at the Campus Recreation Center.
- Friday, Sept. 15: QPR training marathon with virtual and in-person sessions throughout the day.
While most of these events are meant to help students relax and have fun, they are also intended to bring awareness to the issue of suicide on the college campus, educate the community on how they can help, and connect those who may be struggling with the resources they need.
“Our message to students who are dealing with suicidal thoughts is this: ‘You’re not alone. Talk to someone. Reach out,’” said Vidal Annan, senior director for the Center for Mental Health Care and Resources. “We have resources available both on and off campus, all hours of the day.”
Students can walk into the Center for Mental Health Care and Resources in the Smithgall Student Services Building, Suite 238, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Center offers support during business hours, after hours, and on weekends through its phone services at 404.894.2575 and also offers information and resources on its website. Anyone who is experiencing an immediate, life-threatening emergency on campus should call the Georgia Tech Police Department at 404.894.2500. Additional on-campus resources can be found in the Student Resource Guide.
Off-campus resources include the National 988 Hotline, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800.273.8255, Georgia Crisis and Access Line 800.715.4225, and the Crisis Text Line 741.741 (text “HOME” or “STEVE”).