On Sept.10, the Texas Wesleyan University community acknowledged World Suicide Prevention Day by hosting an awareness event on campus.
In front of West Library, students, faculty and staff participated in the event to share personal experiences, as well as support for the cause. Attendees wrote on balloons and released them into the air and lit candles to remember those who have been lost or have experienced similar situations.
“This event [was] extremely important to me,” Phoenix Carlini, a senior Psychology major at Wesleyan said. “In 2007, I took more than 60 pills and attempted suicide. I ended up having a three-hour seizure and was in a nine-day coma.”
But this experience has given Carlini a renewed life purpose.
“I should not be here today but it was definitely a miracle,” he said. “I am now doing everything I possibly can with my life. This event was something that I felt like I had to do.”
WSPD is not only important to Carlini because of personal experience, but also the effect it has had on his peers.
“I’ve already had a few students share with me that they are going through a hard time,” he said. “And to be able to say to them that they’re not alone and to help them through it, is the greatest feeling in the world.”
WSPD is an annual event acknowledged on Sept. 10. Rudy Leonard, Gay-Straight Alliance advisor and Psychology department staff expressed how she was very passionate about the event. Much like Carlini, Leonard has dealt with suicide also.
“I lost someone dear to me when I was in high school,” she said. “And when I was in college I struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression myself.”
Leonard was inspired to create an event for WSPD after hearing about a blog titled To Write Love on Her Arms, which was written by Jamie Tworkowski. Tworkowski began writing a blog about her friend who was struggling in life. But today,the blog is based on helping people from all walks of life.
“Sept. 10 will always be World Suicide Prevention Day, Leonard said. “This is not just something that one group is dedicated to. It is something that affects everybody. And we all want to spread the word.”
Nearly 800,000 people try to commit suicide each year, according to the International Association for Suicide Prevention. This amounts to roughly 40 attempts of suicide per second. This factor indicates that there are more deaths each year due to suicide than by homicide and war combined.
Wesleyan organizations that attended the event include: Gay-Straight Alliance, Psi Chi, Student Government Association, Criminal Justice Society, the Sociology department, Mortar Board and Lambda Theta Alpha.
Jada High, athletics training major and freshmen attended the event on Friday. She said “Don’t try to hide,” she said. “Just be you. And find other like you. That is something that can really help, finding people who can understand you.”
According to a Glick House Community Counselling Center flier if a person seems to be withdrawn, having unusual sleeping or eating patterns, seems to be having feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or is giving away prized possessions, these are some of the warning signs that people should look for.
“If you are even contemplating suicide, if you are at risk or you know somebody that is, please go and talk somebody or see somebody,” Alison Simons, Sociology professor at Wesleyan said. “There are plenty of faculty that would be more than willing to talk to students and get you help. Nothing is insurmountable. Nothing. Especially as a student.”
Students who are at risk or know someone who may be are encouraged to utilize resources on and off campus.
“Listen to other people,” Carlini said. “Pay attention to the warning signs, and be there for them. If you don’t know the answer, then find someone who does and help provide local resources.”
If anything in the article has affected you and you think you may be at risk, or know somebody that may be at risk, here are some numbers and websites that may be able to help:
Glick House Community Counseling center at Texas Wesleyan
NAMI – Tarrant County
Mental Health America of Greater Tarrant County
Depression Connection for Recovery