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Suicide Prevention Week brings awareness on mental illness and suicide

Submitted by Pauline Mothu on August 30, 2014 – 3:46 pmOne Comment

Illustration by Brady Jackson

The recent news of Robin Williams’ death by suicide has served as a reminder that we need to talk about suicide to help the ones struggling with it. In order to spread awareness for suicide prevention, UALR Active Minds, along with the UALR Counseling Services, is hosting its suicide prevention week Sept. 8 through 12.

Amy Muse, a UALR counselor, said that talking about suicide is one of the major preventive measures to stop it. “When young adults are at that point where there are so many stressors upon them, they think there is only one door -suicide”, she said “I believe that if we talk about it, when these persons are going to get to that point, they’ll know they can ask for help rather than taking this permanent solution. Not being perfect and having issues is what everybody goes through. No situation ever stays the same.”

The week will kick off Monday with the Chancellor’s Proclamation in the Diamond Cafe area at noon. On Tuesday, there will be a booth in the Diamond Cafe area where items will be given away as well as a “creativity station” where students can decorate luminary bags with messages of support to help those struggling with suicide ideation or to honor someone they had lost. These luminary bags will be displayed the following day at 7pm during the “Together We Can” Memorial Vigil.

Unlike last year, the Gallery of Hope Artistic Expression Contest will take place on Thursday instead of Wednesday, from 10am to 2pm in the DSC Upper Concourse. The contest is open to all UALR students, faculty and staff who can register on the UALR Counseling Services webpage until Sept. 8. Categories include visual, written and performance art that express messages of hope and strength in coping with suicide. All participants receive prizes and the winners will receive their awards during a ceremony on Sept 12 in the DSC A & B.

Like last year, a panel discussion will take place in the DSC A & B Friday at noon to show support and teach people how to help someone struggling with suicide.

“The whole point of this event is to bring a sense of community around the persons who are struggling. Let those people know, especially who want to help but don’t know what to say or do and thus ignore it, that there is support on campus. A lot of people care on this campus” Muse said.

Muse added that suicide affects everybody. “A lot of people perceive that if they had enough money, if they had the right relationship, if they had the right prestige in society, they wouldn’t feel sad and depressed. Robin Williams had everything and it still affected him. Suicide is indiscriminate, it doesn’t hit one type of person. Nobody is immune to suicide.”

This year, the event is based on the message “Suicide Prevention, Together We Can Do It.”

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