By Alexis Lugo
On Thursday, September 12, 2013, Pensacola State College hosted a suicide convention in Building two to give students awareness about the help they can receive if they are depressed.
Forty-five students attended the convention; most of them were there as part of a class assignment.
Rachelle Burns, Crisis Referral Coordinator, spoke at this convention to make college students aware of how permanent their decisions can be.
Every student suffers from his or her own kind of stress. Students get flustered with studying for tests, incomplete projects, and unwritten speeches that were put off till the last minute; however, academics are not the only cause of stress.
“There are many factors that contribute to making that life ending decision, but there is always one thing that will just push them over the edge,” said Rachelle Burns.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death to college students and two out of three students who suffer from depression never seek help.
When young adults attend a new college, not only are they pressured by the assignments and responsibilities of their classes, but also by their surrounding peers. Having a group of trustworthy friends can greatly reduce the risk of suicide.
For every three murders that take place in this country, there are five suicides. Nine out of ten students who die from suicide suffer mental illness, most often depression. Students come to be overwhelmed by their new school and new atmosphere. They turn to alcohol and drugs for help, but these substances only increase depression.
“When seeking help for a friend who shows signs of depression, use soft words,” advises Burns. “‘Have you been thinking about ending your life? Have you been thinking that this is the answer for you?’”
These are questions that Rachelle Burns recommends for friends to use rather than using harsh statements or criticizing the decision to end their life.
Students who have been contemplating suicide will react better when approached in a gentle manner rather than with a forceful tone. “If you say, ‘you wouldn’t do anything stupid would you?’ that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways,” says Burns.
Some students, however, are made aware of their condition and seek help immediately. For students that do decide to search for treatment, there is an eighty percent success rate.
Pensacola State has a wellness center located on campus. If you would like to seek help, or are seeking help for a friend, Rachelle Burns’ office is located in building six, next to the testing center. All information is confidential. If you are on a fixed income, visit the Lake View Center at1221 W Lakeview Ave Pensacola, FL 32501 or Contact personnel at (850) 432-1222. You can also contact the suicide lifeline that is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-TALK.