Prevent Suicide Event Sept. 28
ASU Counseling Center Hosts Event Highlighting Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness
By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU
Alabama State University’s Counseling Center will host its annual “R U Good?” event on September 28 in recognition of Suicide Prevention Month. The event will be held in the ballrooms of the John Garrick Hardy Student Center (second floor) and is a reminder to ASU students and employees that the Counseling Center offers assessments, treatments and a "friendly ear" for those who are contemplating suicide and/or are suffering from depression, as well as other emotional, behavioral and psychological ailments which are affecting their lives in a negative way.
The R U Good? event takes place between the hours of 11 a.m. -- 1 p.m., shared Chris Johns, director of ASU's Counseling Center (Center).
SUICIDE SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG 24 AND YOUNGER
Johns explained that the Center is hosting this event after examining data that shows suicide is the second leading cause of death among people 15 to 24 years-old in the United States.
"Young people are very vulnerable to suicide and teenagers and young adults have had rising rates of suicide compared to just 10-15 years ago. The things that make them at risk are where they stand socially and where they are developmentally, compounded with other factors," Johns remarked. "This age group falls squarely among the profile of our students at Alabama State, and it is our duty and our prerogative to do all that we can do to show them that suicide is NOT the answer to any problem or issue and that the Hornet Nation family cares for them."
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS ISSUES PART OF CENTER'S MANDATE
ASU's Counseling Center also offers year-round services to help those who live, learn and work at ASU with mental health awareness issues, such as depression and a host of other emotional and behavioral challenges.
"Our Center is free and open for any and all students and employees five days a week, all year long, summer included, and it's located in the J. Garrick Hardy Student Center, in room C1.50," Johns said. "Determining the early signs of mental health problems is not unusual for both teens and adults alike, and getting advice and help is important in protecting one's own mental well-being and that of our friends, and classmates. Signs we should be aware of in ourselves and in our friends include prolonged sadness, anxiety, social withdrawal, and changes in behavior."
GETTING HELP IS KEY TO FEELING BETTER
Johns explained that for many people, one of the problems leading to more severe cases of emotional and behavioral issues that sometimes leads to suicide is that they don’t get the help they need early enough. Johns stated that if one is experiencing the signs of mental health issues, it is critical either to come to the ASU Center or to visit another professional practitioner. He feels that some people often wait until much later in the life of the disorder to identify issues that have been affecting them for too many years, which increases a person’s suffering and isolation.
"Knowing how to spot the early signs of mental health issues and illnesses can equip you or someone you know who is affected by it to address problems earlier and feel better sooner. That is why we urge any member of the Hornet Nation Family to visit with us, which is totally confidential, and allow us to help people, help themselves. Many times it is not a serious issue," stated Johns.
EMOTIONAL/MENTAL HEALTH IS VARIED
Johns said the signs of mental health issues may vary, but the Center can provide coping strategies to help improve clients’ emotional well-being.
"Emotional and mental health is individualized and complex and no two people share the exact same genetic, environmental, and mental makeup, so problems will look different for almost everyone," explained Johns.
Though the signs may vary from person to person, most people exhibit certain warning signs that fall into three specific categories: physical, behavioral and/or emotional.
ISSUES TO WATCH
Some of the general signs of mental health issues include changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, a lack of personal hygiene, increased sensitivity to lights or sounds, not wanting to be around people, scars or marks indicating self-harm, hair loss, weight changes, fatigue, nausea, increased heart rate, hallucinations, slowed speech or hyperactive speech, and feelings of hopelessness.
"If you or someone you love have been showing changes in any of these categories or in thoughts, feelings, or actions, use these warning signs as a guide to contact us or come by our event on Sept. 28 or our office and visit with me or our staff, so we may determine the next steps and see if it’s time to seek support or therapy of some sort. We all deserve to live happy lives and our Center is here to help people do so," Johns concluded.
To contact ASU's Counseling Center: 334-229-4382 or UCC@alasu.edu
News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.