This simple message, written in neat script on white paper attached to a purple balloon, floated off into the heavens with dozens of other messages written in memory of those affected by suicide.
The Sept. 22 proclamation and memorial balloon release was the last event in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Suicide Prevention Week meant to raise awareness of suicide prevention, especially on college campuses.
“This balloon release is a tribute to the strength and perseverance of friends and family members who have dealt with the loss of someone through suicide,” said Mike Kirk, director of UALRCounseling Services. “It also represents our commitment to the fight to prevent suicide on UALR’s campus.”
About 1,100 college students die from suicide every year, according to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In Arkansas, suicide is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24, the age group that includes traditional college students.
As a social work graduate student interning in the UALR Office of Counseling Services, Luanne Nelson has heard many people say “I am not enough.” She fervently hopes her message of “You are enough” will reach the people who need to hear it the most.
“I think it is important to say: no matter what path you are on or whatever you are going through, that it is all important,” Nelson said. “You are always enough.”
While reading the proclamation declaring the week of Sept. 19-23 as UALR Suicide Prevention Week, UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson reaffirmed UALR’s commitment to suicide prevention.
“Suicide affects everyone, therefore, suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility,” Rogerson said. “UALR is also committed to doing all we can to empower those facing challenges and hardship. We are dedicated to combating bullying, harassment, and discrimination on our campus and to promote mental well-being and suicide prevention.”
Rogerson said small actions make a difference.
“One small act — the decision to reach out to your classmate or colleague, offer support to a friend, or encourage someone in need to seek help — can make a difference,” he said. “It can help energize a necessary conversation and support a culture of caring and compassion across our campus. If you are hurting, know this: You are not forgotten. You are never alone. We are here for you, and help is available.”
For help or more information, contact UALR Counseling Services at ualr.edu/counseling or call 501.569.3185.