National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month By: Marie Moreno

Suicide is a topic that can often make members of the public at large uncomfortable or even reticent even though approximately 1.5 perent of all deaths worldwide are by the intentional act of taking one’s own life. .

According to data presented by New Directions Behavioral Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 34. More than 700,000 people die by suicide every year, which the World Health Organization (WHO) breaks down to one person every 40 seconds.

Because this is an unfortunate reality in our world and students everywhere face mental health challenges, Hardin-Simmons University makes counseling services available to all students. Aaron Martinez is a university counselor at HSU, and we got his insight on the significance of National Suicide Prevention and Awareness month.

While suicide is the act of taking your own life, suicidal ideation is just as important to address.“Suicidal ideation is more of a feeling of not wanting to be here, while suicide is the action,” Martinez said. Suicidal ideation is a lot more common than one would think and can happen to anybody. It can also be considered as one of the first warning signs of suicide and can lead to increasing suicidal thoughts and plans to commit suicide.

Members of the college-age population (generally 18-24) are more likely to have suicidal ideations but are less likely to complete the act of suicide. People who are on drugs are at a higher risk to commit suicide more spontaneously.

There are a number of warning signs to notice if someone may be planning to commit suicide. Seven signicant warning signs include: dramatic changes in personality, passive-aggressive comments about suicide and suicide ideation, giving away sentimental items, saying goodbyes to friends or family, gaining access to lethal items one can use to harm themselves, writing goodbyes down and self-harming or impulsive, dangerous behavior. Noticing these warning signs can be vital in saving someone's life. If you see any of these signs or other concerning behaviors from your friends or family, try to connect them to someone who will help. Do not be afraid to speak up.

Martinez explained that other ways we can help prevent suicides are removing the stigma around suicide and suicidal ideation by talking about the subject. He also calls for educating more people about the warning signs of suicide. On campus, you can help by reporting someone who you may think is having suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation to RAs, RDs, professors, Martinez himself and, in case of an emergency, the campus police.

By being aware, we can each take steps to encourage one another and prevent suicide. You can reach the HSU Campus Police at 325-670-1461 or Aaron Martinez at 325-670-1711.