Acknowledging suicides is crucial

The Advance-Titan Staff

School systems across the country always preach how important mental health is and why you should reach out to someone if you feel like you’re going to hurt yourself or if you are feeling depressed.

According to Michigan University’s Counseling and Psychological Services page, suicide is the No. 2 leading cause of death for college students. According to the same site, 25% of all students know somebody who has committed suicide.

This branches the impact of one suicide and displays just how many people are hurt when such a tragedy occurs.

Kyra Slakes / Advance-Titan
According to The University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services page, 25% of all students know somebody who has committed suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47,500 people died by suicide in 2019 alone. That equivocates to about 1 death every 11 minutes. More than 12 million people have thought about committing suicide, 3.5 million people have actually made plans, and about 1.4 million have attempted suicide.

Sometimes a person can feel depressed, or even suicidal, and the thought of reaching out for help can be even more terrifying because they don’t know how people will respond. That feeling of not knowing how people will react to a person’s depression or suicidal thoughts can make those thoughts even worse and can cause a person to spiral downward quickly. Additional people might fear that by reaching out for help they’ll only be seen as complaining or even ungrateful for what they do have.

There are times when people feel like they are lost in a hopeless situation or feel like they are drowning. To them, ending everything seems like the only way out. So if someone reaches out to you and says they want to hurt themselves or worse, take them seriously. Don’t call them dramatic or an attention seeker, or tell them or get over it, because doing that will only push them closer to that edge.

There are signs and posters placed throughout the UW Oshkosh campus about getting help when you need it and what resources are available to students. However, what can UWO do after the fact if someone on campus takes his or her own life?

Just over a year ago, a UW Oshkosh student took his own life, and life on campus carried on as if it was business as usual.

While preventative measures are consistently promoted by the campus via email and through resource tabs in Canvas class portals, when a student does take his or her own life, we cannot recall any moments of silence across campuses or possible memorials for the life that was lost. The idea that such a loss of life wasn’t mourned or acknowledged on such a wide scope just doesn’t sit well at all.

For privacy purposes, we understand that the identity of the student being revealed is up to the family. But if the family agrees to share the name, recognizing the tragedy be a more appropriate response than just moving on.

Offering campus resources and placing messages like “it’s okay to not be okay” may help some students, but it is just as important for this campus to directly address the instances where someone still felt the need to end his or her time on earth.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, seasonal affective disorder, better known as seasonal depression, impacts 5% of all adults for roughly 40% of the calendar year surrounding the winter.