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Suicide Prevention Week helping erase the stigma

Many believe mental health issues and suicide are things you shouldn't talk about, but some organizations are working to change that.

Posted: Sep 9, 2019 4:02 PM
Updated: Sep 11, 2019 12:24 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - In some social circles, there’s a stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues.

One of those circles is college students.

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Suicide is the 2nd highest cause of death among college-aged students in both Indiana and Ohio.

For Purdue Fort Wayne Freshman Alyssa Anzelmo, she knows her classmates feel the pressure of school and social media.

Anzelmo explained, "There’s a lot of things on your plate and if you get something wrong, then you feel like oh it’s the end of the world you can’t get back up again ,when in reality you can. You can always come back up from your mistakes, but a lot of people when you feel like you mess up you can’t get out of that hole."

Purdue Fort Wayne is hosting a number of activities this week to get the community talking about mental health, trying to erase the stigma.

"I think that stigma is still a problem. The programs have increased and the increasing part of this is awareness and training. Part of that is simply, right up front, reduce the stigma. There’s still a stigma to have mental health needs," said Mary Ross, the Director of Project COMPASS and Purdue Access.

It can be hard to recognize the signs of suicide in a college student, who is trying to support themselves, maybe for the first time.

Chris Kiester with Parkview Behavioral Health says you should look out for the following signs, "One of the biggest things to look for is a change in behavior, whether that’s increased isolation, withdrawn, loss of interest in activities they normally enjoy. Of course, sadness, crying all of those things."

If you’re concerned about your college-aged student, make sure to talk to them on a regular basis, and encourage them to seek assistance.

Below are links to a few resources to help with suicide prevention and mental health awareness: 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Park Center

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Purdue Fort Wayne Community Counceling Center

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