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Students support Suicide Prevention Week

There is a myth that suicide cannot be prevented, when in fact most suicides can.

Most suicidal individuals desperately want to live, but they are unable to seek an alternative to their problems. They tend to give definitive warnings of their suicidal intentions, but others are either unaware of the significance of these warnings or do not know how to respond to them.

Two-thirds of people who struggle with depression do not seek help. Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide. For young people 15 – 24 years old, suicide is the third-leading cause of death. Over 90 percent of suicide victims have a significant psychiatric illness often undiagnosed, untreated or both.

This is why the week of Sept. 8-14 is National Suicide Prevention Week. This week is dedicated to raising awareness about the issue of suicide in the United States.

An organization that we hold close to our hearts, named To Write Love On Her Arms, is the reason we got involved with NSPW. To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to giving hope and help for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide. We are hoping to bring a chapter of the organization to UTEP this fall.

Samantha Rodela, junior chemistry major, the president of this soon-to-be organization, writes about why she cares about National Suicide Prevention Week:

“TWLOHA showed me that I’m not alone, and that it’s okay to seek help. I felt encouraged by TWLOHA to get help for my depression and anxiety,” she said. “I have had thoughts of suicide and this is why this week is so dear to me. I know how alone people can feel, but the truth is you are not alone. I asked for help and now it is easier for me to handle the struggles that I go through.”

Suicide is a serious issue that affects people of all ages, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicities and backgrounds around the world.

Every 40 seconds there is a suicide and about one million lives are lost due to suicide. These losses can be avoided.

Warning signs of a potential suicide are ideation, substance abuse, purposelessness, anxiety, feelings of being trapped, hopelessness, withdrawal from social life, anger, recklessness and mood changes.

If at any point a person starts threatening, wanting or looking for ways to harm or kill him or herself by seeking access to pills, firearms or other methods, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral.

You can help a suicidal person by being aware, knowing the warning signs, showing interest and support, asking if he or she is thinking about suicide, being willing to listen and avoiding judgment.

Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong. Remember not to lecture about the value of life, don’t dare him or her to do it, don’t tell them to behave differently and don’t ask why. This encourages defensiveness.

Do offer empathy, not sympathy.

Offer hope that alternatives are available, do not offer glib reassurance, it only makes it seem like you don’t understand.

Don’t assume that depression and suicide are things we can’t talk about. If you or someone you know is struggling please know that you are not alone. Please talk to someone. Talk to a friend or consider talking to a counselor.

The University Counseling Center offers personal counseling and career counseling as well.

People think there must be something seriously wrong with someone who opts for counseling, or that they are crazy. This is not true, we all just need someone to talk to.

What we want people to know is that talking about suicide doesn’t mean someone will become suicidal.

Not talking about these issues is the problem. People need to be aware that these issues exist and it is okay to talk about them.

For more information, visit

Cynthia Annete Reyes, Samantha Rodela and Rodrigo Lugo may be reached at [email protected].

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Students support Suicide Prevention Week