Depression, stress, anxiety possible factors for suicide among students

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    According to the TCU Counseling and Mental Health Center, six university students have committed suicide in the last three years, but the university continues its efforts to reach out to students in crisis.

    Last year, the university received a grant to improve its current suicide outreach program, called the HOPE Initiative.

    The grant also funded the R U OK? suicide awareness campaign, which teaches students, faculty and staff how to identify warning signs of suicide and emphasizes the importance of reaching out for help.

    The Counseling and Mental Health Center works to educate students about available resources because studies show those who use them are less likely to attempt suicide, Eric Wood, associate director of counseling, testing and mental health, said. 

    A lot of individuals are generally not familiar with resources available in their community," Wood said. “Likewise, many students on any college campus are not familiar with the campus resources that are available. Thus, this is the purpose of the R U OK? campaign.”

    Cortney Gumbleton, the university's suicide prevention outreach coordinator, said the most common forms of mental illness among students are depression, stress and anxiety.

    Only about 10 percent of students take advantage of the Counseling Center’s services, Gumbleton said.

    According to the R U OK? website, the campaign is partnering with the Counseling Center to sponsor a suicide prevention poster contest offering individuals the chance to express themselves artistically while also increasing suicide awareness. The winner will have their poster displayed around campus and online.

    Junior psychology major Hannah Freeman said she thinks the contest is a great idea and wanted to participate because she has been indirectly affected by suicide twice in her life.

    “The whole idea is to ask invasive questions that could be lifesavers," she said. "I think it’s really cool."

    Wood said it is important for everyone to learn how to help one another in difficult times.

    “Our hope is that every member of the TCU community will learn how to help someone and learn what resources are available,” he said.

    Entries for the poster contest must be submitted to Gumbleton in the Campus Life Office in M.E. Sadler Hall by Sept. 27.

    The Counseling Center, located in the Brown-Lupton Health Center, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students in crisis are accepted on a walk-in basis or can call 817-257-7863 to schedule an appointment.

    Crisis counselors are available to talk 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).