Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The National Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Center reported that depression affects over 19 million American adults annually, including college students.
In a NCSTA Center survey, 10 percent of college students have been diagnosed with depression, including 13 percent of college women. Suicide was the eighth leading cause of death for all Americans in 1998.
Marshall Bloom, director for the CSUN Helpline, and a psychologist for the University Counseling Services, said that UCS works closely with Klotz Student Health Center to raise and promote suicide awareness for the university.
Bloom also said there are many resources available on campus for students.
One of the many resources for students is the CSUN HelpLine. The CSUN HelpLine has been in existence since 1970, and its services are sponsored by the UCS. It is funded by Associated Students.
CSUN HelpLine is aimed at helping individuals explore the options provided to them with information and referrals to help them find the appropriate help that they might need.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.8 percent of men and 12.3 percent of women ages 18 to 24 report frequent mental distress, an indicator of depression and other mental disorders.
Amy Reichbach, health educator of the Koltz Student Health Center, said there are people who come in the SHC and openly state plans to end their lives.
“The Student Health Center collaborates with the University Counseling Center – we have no problem mutually referring somebody,” Reichbach said.
Reichbach said there is still a stigma attached to mental health conditions nationwide, and it is not just a campus issue.
“We all have nationwide stigma (toward mental health conditions) – most people just want the warm and fuzzy feeling instead,” Reichbach said.
According to Bloom and Reichbach, suicide, depression and other mental health issues are still taboo in our society.
The University Counseling Services renamed the Suicide Prevention Project to Blues Project, which is expected to open by week seven of this semester. Blues Project will attempt to reinstate some objectives of the existing Suicide Prevention Project.
Blues Project is a peer educator program. The objective of the program is to train students to be prepared to make presentations around campus and to raise awareness for other students, Bloom said. Volunteers who are motivated to be part of the project would be trained and could get academic credit through their department approval, he said.
“With the Blues Project, students can be knowledgeable and can feel empowered in dealing with individuals who might be experiencing depression and suicide. The primary focus is to service the student campus and later expand to the community,” Bloom said.
Bloom wants to emphasize the notion of being proactive in dealing with these types of issue.
Eric Cooley, social work graduate student who assists Bloom in the Blues Project, was assigned to the University Counseling Service as an intern. According to Bloom, Cooley has shown interest in the objectives of the project.
“We want to raise awareness-the issue (of depression and suicide) is not talked about-and we want (students) to say it is OK to ask (for) help,” Cooley said.
Joanne Angeles can be reached at email@example.com.