Students discuss suicide prevention

Hannah Shillo, Associate News Editor

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Over 800,000 lives are lost to suicide in the world each year; that is about one life every 40 seconds.

That is why on World Suicide Prevention Day, celebrated Tuesday, Eastern students think suicide prevention needs more attention.

Brooke Prehoda, junior environmental biology major, said she has minimal experience with suicide prevention.

“I don’t think it’s as big of awareness as it should be,” Prehoda said. “I know I’m aware that there are events that go on for (suicide prevention) and stuff, but I’ve never personally been to anything.”

Prehoda said she has never known anyone who has attempted or committed suicide, so organizations that provide more information, knowledge, statistics and programs about the subject are helpful to her and can help others become more aware.

Kanika Singh, a graduate student in the clinical psychology program, said determining the appropriate audience is an important place to start regarding awareness.

“We need to increase awareness among mainly the youth because they are more prone to committing suicide,” Singh said. “They do not have the coping skills to do so or they do not have the support system like family and friends.”

Singh said knowing the signs of suicidal behavior and how certain things lead people to suicide are important in preventing the act itself.

“If we feel there is a minor change in (people’s behaviors), we should keep checking on them,” Singh said. “These are the ways through which we can prevent suicide, maybe.”

By checking on friends, family and even acquaintances, Singh said there is a possibility of saving a life.

“It creates awareness among the people,” she said. “Eventually, maybe out of five (people), there might be one person who will listen to you, who will think (and) who will analyze.”

Singh said her point of view possibly stems from studying clinical psychology, but she has also had first-hand experience with suicide.

“In my college, there were two or three girls who committed suicide in the college (and) I saw them,” Singh said. “It was very disturbing.”

She said the department she studies in acted in accordance following those events.

“Our college took the initiative, so the psychology department formed a committee they use to address each department and to talk to them about all the issues that people are facing,” Singh said.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention said on its website that each suicide affects around 135 other people in the form of grief.

Prehoda said suicide prevention awareness is a “hit or miss” subject because some people are unaware of just how deeply suicide affects the world.

“People don’t realize that mental illness is a huge part of suicide, and that’s something that people need to focus more on,” Prehoda said. “It’s not just because someone’s sad; there’s more to it than just what people think. They always think it’s the easy way out, but it’s not; there’s more to it than that and people need to be more aware of that.”

Singh said Eastern students who are struggling have options as far as talking to someone and asking for help, like the Counseling Center on campus.

“At any level, you should talk (to someone),” Singh said. “It will help. Awareness is very important; you should know what things are triggering you.”

Prehoda said letting someone know about one’s suicidal thoughts is the first step in getting help.

“Try to talk to somebody that you feel comfortable with,” Prehoda said. “People will listen. A lot of people think that nobody cares, that nobody wants to listen to them, but there is someone always there to listen to you that cares.”

Those who are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts and feelings can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with someone online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].