Suicide is a hard subject to talk about. However, Depression, anxiety, sadness, and loneliness are very real, so Dixie State University is taking initiative and planning on raising awareness and inspiring hope.
DSU Health and Counseling Center is hosting its first ever Suicide Prevention week in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Week. The week will consist of different activities every day on campus and will end with a suicide prevention training for students and faculty.
Tasha McNamee, HCC support specialist, said some of the events include Henna Semi-Colon Tattoos, Sidewalk Chalk Art and a performance by DSU Raging Red.
McNamee said there will also be a Firearm Safety Panel.
For a full list of events, times and locations happening this week, visit the HCC Instagram page @dsubwell and click on their story labeled events.
Jamy Dahle, outreach coordinator for HCC, said, “Our hope with this week is to provide awareness in regards to suicide, to create conversation to help break the stigma, and to offer hope to those that are struggling.”
DSU has hosted suicide prevention activies in the past but has never dedicated a full week to it. The change is due to a concern of a rise in suicide at DSU.
“Utah is the 5th in the nation for those that die by suicide, and DSU is not immune to this,” Dahle said. “DSU students struggle with suicidal ideation and attempts. Based on our most recent survey completed spring 2019 on DSU campus, out of approximately 10,000 students, 1,300 had seriously considered death by suicide and 310 had attempted to die by suicide.”
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Utah’s suicide rate is 22.74 per 100,000 individuals compared to the national average, which is 14.00 per 100,000 individuals. There is a significantly higher suicide rate in Utah and DSU wants to do whatever it takes to decrease that rate.
“We want to be able to bring attention to suicide, help break the stigma, and offer hope,” Dahle said.
DSU’s Raging Red is a participant in this weeks events. Brett Coleman, a senior communication studies major from Midway and performer for Raging Red, said, “My hope as a performer this week is that other students, faculty and staff and really anyone on campus on Thursday can feel and know there is a place for them.”
Dahle said she recommends for students to watch Alex Boye’s “Bend Not Break” music video. The video is all about suicide prevention and explains how students can get through anything.
“For those suffering, it is important to know that you can feel better, even if you can’t see if right now,” Dahle said. “You are worth it, you matter and you deserve to live.”
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or the DSU HCC at 435-652-7755.