Every 13.7 minutes in America someone dies. It’s not from car accidents or from disease or even natural causes; it’s by their own hand. In our country, suicide claims the lives of more than 38,000 of our neighbors, friends and family members each year. Recent statistics show that it is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States among adults 18-65, the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults and, even more troubling, approximately 16 percent of high school students have “seriously considered” suicide in the last year.
And most tragic is that the vast majority of these individuals never seek professional care. For some, the reason could be the stigma that some place on the issue of mental health and depression. For others, it may simply be they don’t know help is available or where to look.
That’s why in 2004, Nova Southeastern University established a Crisis Prevention Committee to help develop strategies for preventing suicide and violence within the NSU community. That grew, and in 2007 the NSU Office of Suicide and Violence Prevention was formed.
Our team has created presentations geared toward students, faculty and staff as a way to provide education on this issue.
The goal is to provide information regarding risk factors and warning signs of suicide and violence. So many times those closest to the victim can identify some of the warning signs, albeit in hindsight; that’s why it’s vital that people have this knowledge so they can be proactive and help a friend or family member.
Part of NSU’s Office of Suicide and Violence Prevention efforts include an upcoming free Suicide Prevention Webinar tailored for school administrators, teachers, and guidance counselors on Dec. 2 with the goal of shining a light on what can be done to help prevent suicide, to successfully intervene with suicidal youngsters and to effectively respond in the aftermath of such a tragic event.
NSU, spearheaded by the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority, is also participating in the annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Nov. 24.
In its fifth year, the walk will bring the South Florida community together in raising suicide awareness while allowing participants to honor and remember a loved one who has succumbed to suicide.
Those interested in participating in this year’s Out of the Darkness Walk are urged to contact Michelle Manley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 954-262-8457. For more information about the webinar or for information on suicide prevention, please visit www.nova.edu/suicideprevention. If you or someone you love needs help, please call 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433.)
We’re all in this together — you can help save the life of someone you love.
Dr. Scott Poland and Dr. Douglas Flemons, Nova Southeastern University, Davie