Last paragraph reads: " 'We knew he had been depressed and we knew he might be at risk for suicide and had tried to do a lot of things to help with that,' Jahn said. 'He was on anti-depressant medication and we thought we had taken all the guns out of the house, but apparently he had hidden one from us and one day he decided to take his life.' ”
Most students can say they’ve had a bad day at some point during their educational career, but bad days can easily turn into bad weeks and even progress further, causing extreme anxiety.
This week is the 36th Annual Suicide Prevention Week. Thursday, the Graduate Organization of Counseling Psychology Students and Clinical Council set up an informational table outside of the student union building to raise awareness about the subject.
Graduate psychology student and therapist, Danielle Jahn, said the table offered ribbons for students wanting to show their support for the cause, as well as information for those who are feeling depressed or notice that someone around them may be at risk.
Although Jahn said she didn’t notice a fluctuation in students coming for help during or after Suicide Prevention Week, she said there was a need for awareness due to national suicide rates.
“We have been seeing an increase in suicide rates for many years now. This is one of the reasons we’re really stressing how important it is to give students resources so that they can get help if they or somebody they know is thinking about suicide,” she said.
Kelly Cukrowics, assistant professor in Tech’s Department of Psychology, said there are a variety of triggers for depression and suicidal thoughts ranging from relationship difficulties with roommates and significant others to the pressure of doing well on exams.
There are resources on campus available to students who may just be having a bad day, Cukrowics said, like the Student Counseling Center and the psychology department, which also has a clinic. There are also hotlines available to students who don’t want to have a face-to-face meeting.
“Traditionally our society hasn’t been overly enthusiastic about mental illness and haven’t embraced people to offer the kind of help that they need,” Cukrowics said.
“Sometimes people just feel embarrassed about not being able to cope with all that life has thrown their way.”
Kasi Howard, a counseling psychologist at the Student Counseling Center, said the center offers individual and couples therapy to students during the center’s business hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sessions can meet as frequently as once a week, Howard said, and the clinic will see a student up to eight to 10 sessions, but there are exceptions for students who need long-term therapy.
“We’ll figure out what’s most appropriate for the client, whether it be individual, couple or group therapy,” Howard said. “We try to meet the student’s needs in terms of what are their goals for therapy, what’s going on for them right now and then essentially we just do therapy.”
Chris Romani, a graduate student in the counseling program, serves as a therapist and said treatment really depends on the student, but they can help students to rearrange their thoughts and to help them cope with things the students don’t have control over.
For example, Jahn had a personal experience she had to cope with that was out of her hands.
Jahn said while in her junior year at the University of Florida she received a call from her mother telling her that her grandfather had died by suicide.
“We knew he had been depressed and we knew he might be at risk for suicide and had tried to do a lot of things to help with that,” Jahn said. “He was on anti-depressant medication and we thought we had taken all the guns out of the house, but apparently he had hidden one from us and one day he decided to take his life.”
Anyone seeking help can contact Danielle Jahn via email at danielle.jahn@ ttu.edu or the American Association of Suicidology at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Their website is http://www.suicidology.org.