Auraria campus marches for suicide prevention

Demonstrators held up signs of encouragement at march for suicide prevention. Photo: Isaiah Mancha · The Sentry

September deemed Suicide Awareness Month
Demonstrators held up signs of encouragement at march for suicide prevention.
Photo: Isaiah Mancha · The Sentry

September has been deemed the month of Suicide Prevention Awareness, a time in which many organizations, such as NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness), reach out to individuals who have been affected by suicide and to those with suicidal thoughts.

According to the American Association for Suicidology, as of 2016, every 28 seconds someone attempts suicide. It is also the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 and 24.

Here at Auraria Campus on Sept. 10, students and faculty from different organizations took a stand in their March for Suicide Prevention – a one mile silent walk around campus where students wore black t-shirts with purple ribbon that read, “Suicide Awareness Month,” and held signs with words of encouragement to those struggling.

“Today is actually World Suicide Prevention Day, so we want to spread the message that things will change, things will be different, which is why we’ve done chalking on campus with encouraging and positive words,” Noreen Khan, a student assistant in the Office of Case Management, says. “The goal of this silent march is trying to get others connected with resources, knowing that they can talk to someone when needed.”

Around campus, in bright and vibrant colors on the pavement, students found hearts and messages, such as “You Matter” and “Asking for Help Is A Sign of Strength” to promote awareness.

Undergraduate Savannah Gonzalez was asked why she was at the march with fellow students to promote awareness around campus. “A couple years ago, I almost lost a friend to a suicide attempt. She felt she didn’t have anyone to talk to. She felt lonely. So, I’m here to let her and others know that they’re not alone and that we as the public will always be there for them,” Gonzalez said.

Speaking of the public, one of the things that can be done to help those with suicidal thoughts is to be aware of the situation–the way someone acts or behaves, whether it be in public or in isolation.

“Try to recognize friends and family who are in distress. Talk to them; let them know that there is a way of helping the situation,” Khan continued. “I think we often shy from these uncomfortable situations and instead we should try to embrace it.”

Suicide is not an easy thing to address. Friends and family won’t always want to be open about their needs or say that they want help. Fortunately, on campus, the Counseling Center, located on the fourth floor of the Tivoli, is open for CU Denver students and the community. Students get 10 free sessions per academic year. And if one is not comfortable talking face-to-face in these situations, they can dial the new suicide prevention hotline number at 988.

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