Start talking about suicide: Suicide Prevention Week 2015

Start talking about suicide: Suicide Prevention Week 2015

Olivia Marshall

To Write Love On Her Arms will offer a suicide prevention training class on Thursday, Sept. 10 to create conversations on campus and get people talking about mental health and suicide.

Washburn students have come together to spread the mission of To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit movement that is recognized nationally for its dedication to find help for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-harm and suicide, while offering hope and support. 

TWLOHA reminds individuals that they are not alone, and encourages others to reach out to their friends and point them to places where they can get help. The Washburn TWLOHA chapter was started in 2012 by Molly Walter, senior psychology major. She currently serves as a mentor to new officers. 

The aim of National Suicide Prevention Week is to start these conversations and find out how you can help someone who may be struggling. 

“We want to make a bigger conversation out of this. We can talk about it as much as we want in meetings, but it won’t help in the grand scheme of things if we don’t spread the word to others,” Walter said.

TWLOHA-WU is tabling in the Memorial Union Tuesday through Thursday, beginning Sept. 8 and ending on Sept. 10 (National Suicide Prevention Day). The group will be handing out information, including hotlines available to the public and how to help someone who may be depressed or suicidal. 

In the union, visitors can keep the conversation going by taking a friendship bracelet and sharing it with a friend, or making one of their own as a reminder that their own story continues. 

A suicide prevention training will take place Thursday, Sept. 10 in place of the organization’s weekly meeting. Michael Heider, from the Washburn psychology department, will lead the training based suicide prevention research.

At this session, attendees will learn how to identify the signs in their friends and families. Those that attend will have more tools in their toolkit to handle mental health. They will learn what warning signs look like and what to do if a friend is exhibiting any of those signs. 

Monica McDougal, senior mass media major, says that chances are that everyone knows someone who is or has been suicidal or has had suicidal thoughts in the past.

“I don’t think there is a person on this planet who is not affected by suicide, to some degree. Whether it’s someone you know or their family member, we are all affected in some way, and if not currently, we could be in the future.”

The training on Thursday is open to all, even those who don’t know anyone who is depressed or suicidal. 

“Even if you aren’t struggling and don’t know anyone who is struggling, it’s still important to get those conversations started so if you do know someone who is struggling, you are safe person to talk to,” said McDougal.

Follow the national discussion online by using the hashtag #SPD15. TWLOHA-WU meets at 5 p.m. on Thursdays in the Blair room of the LLC.