Christine Illes
Associate Photo Editor

Since the tragic death of Robin Williams, it seems the topic of suicide has been in the news quite often. This month has not seen that change. This past Wednesday, Sep. 10, many may have observed World Suicide Prevention Day, which was established in 2003. As its name suggests, World Suicide Prevention Day seeks to raise public awareness about suicide, how it can be prevented, and what can be done to help.

How widespread of an issue is suicide? More widespread than some may realize. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), one million people commit suicide annually, which is about one death every 40 seconds. Suicide is one of the top three leading causes of death for people ages 15–44 and ranks second among people between the ages of 10 to 24.

World Suicide Prevention Day seeks to raise public awareness about suicide and how it can be prevented.
World Suicide Prevention Day seeks to raise public awareness about suicide and how it can be prevented.

According to John Draper of the Huffington Post, federal surveys have reported that over 11.5 million people have seriously considered suicide, 4.8 million haved planned to kill themselves, and over 2.5 million haved people attempted to kill themselves. That is a lot of people in deep, emotional pain, the likes of which many of us may not be able to comprehend.

Many of us have been taught in middle and high school that there are warning signs when it comes to suicide. The person might show signs of depression or start to give their personal belongings away to loved ones. However, suicide is far more complex. In reality, suicide can be a very impulsive decision.

When it comes to prevention, one of the best things one can do is make it more difficult for a suicide to happen. Dennis Thompson of the HealthDay Reporter reports that “People with access to a gun are three times more likely to commit suicide and almost twice as likely to be the victim of a homicide as people without a firearm available, according to the report published Jan. 20 in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.” In some cases of suicide attempts, having easy access to guns or pills can be the deciding factor of whether or not that person lives or dies. Suicides are not always planned as we are made to believe.

Another thing that can be done? Get immediate help and show your support. Suicide hotlines have been known to help those in an immediate crisis. As reported by John Draper of the Huffington Post, “…in the wake of Robin Williams’ tragic suicide, the media effectively promoted the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a network of 165 locally funded crisis centers supported by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by our organization, Link2Health Solutions.

“As a result of these widespread public health messages for persons to call the Lifeline (800-273-8255), calls to the service doubled in a day and remain higher today than ever before.”

It is a shame that it took such a tragic and public loss to trigger such outstanding amount of awareness. It should not take a death for people to realize how much awareness there needs to be about suicide, and how it can be truly prevented it if awareness were spread. Help can be provided before it is too late.

Want the Facts?

To learn about the warning signs of suicide, please visit…rningsigns.aspx.

College students are no strangers to suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Yellow is the color for suicide prevention. Wear it this month to honor those who have taken their lives or for the survivors who grieve over the ones they have lost.