By: Megan Marron ’18, Staff Writer
More than 800,000 people are lost to suicide every year worldwide, and more than 1,000 of those losses are college students.
Because of the 24 percent rise in suicide deaths since 1999, the International Association for Suicide Prevention observes World Suicide Prevention Day annually on September 10. It’s done so since 2003. The popular foundation, To Write Love on Her Arms, joined in the observation in 2013.
In addition, President Barak Obama formally declared World Suicide Prevention day to be on September 10 of every year beginning in 2015.
This year, To Write Love on Her Arms’ theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is and So I Kept Living. The holiday is typically observed by wearing the color yellow and the physical writing of the word love on the arms of supporters.
The day is also utilized by organizations like the World Health Organization to urge governments, agencies, corporations, companies, groups and individuals to participate in World Suicide Prevention Day activities and to spark conversations about suicide and mental illness.
It’s these tough conversations about suicide and mental illness some students believe need to be had.
“Its important to talk about mental health because life is not a contest of who wore it best,” Erin Kingham, a junior physical therapy major, said. “Your life was not meant to be compared to that of your friends and family. Your life was meant to be shared. Everything you do touches the lives of others, because you are important.”
LVC has many resources for those struggling with anxiety, depression, academic difficulties and stress. One of these resources are the 50/50 peer helpers who are available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and through walk-in appointments at the Shroyer Health Center. The peer helpers also host weekly social support groups called OASIS and 60 Minutes.
While Lebanon Valley College is not officially observing World Suicide Prevention Day 2016, the health center is offering free anxiety and mood screenings on Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Mund College Center. This opportunity is accompanied by the chance to win prizes for those who fill out the survey.
“The goal of this table is to raise awareness about emotional support, including depression and anxiety,” Vidya Lala, one of the 50/50 peer helpers at Lebanon Valley College, said.
The college also provides counseling services. Appointments can be made by calling 717-867-6232. There are walk-in hours from 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Shroyer Health Center.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.