On September 10, National Suicide Prevention Day, The University of Akron’s Counseling Center held a workshop to raise awareness on this topic that directly affects college students.
Led by psychology intern Kia-Rai M. Prewitt, M.A. and practicum student Alexis DaFonseca, M.A., the Counseling Center offered a presentation in the Student Union, where students picked up pamphlets, talked to the team, and viewed a Power Point slideshow focusing on the main themes of suicide prevention.
With expectation of raising awareness and offering students more ways to get informed on the issue of suicide and self-harm, pamphlets and a slideshow presentation addressed various tools students could use to seek help for themselves or a peer. With information on how to recognize the signs of potential suicidal thoughts or actions, Prewitt and DaFonseca prepared informative devices for students to utilize.
While the workshop was just a one-day event, Prewitt and DaFonseca stressed the accessibility of the counseling center in Simmons Hall and the availability of people to speak with confidentially about thoughts of suicide or other issues students may be struggling with. This free tool allows students to enter a safe and comfortable setting while talking to those with experience on sensitive topics.
“[This opportunity] gives people tools to be able to talk to someone who might be having suicidal thoughts,” Prewitt said.
During the workshop, the presentation included a study from the Center of Collegiate Mental Health that stated 30 percent of college students seriously considered attempting suicide during their collegiate careers. Proving to be a significant reason as to why the Counseling Center strived to hold seminars such as the suicide prevention workshop was due to the nearness that self-harm and suicide hold to college students.
In an attempt to debunk the myths of suicide, raise awareness on campus, and show students that it is not a crime to be stressed or unhappy, Prewitt and DaFoncesa presented this topic in such a way that it reduced the stigma of self-harm.
“[Thoughts of suicide] shouldn’t be a shameful thing,” DaFonseca said.
This workshop showed students that suicide, although a sensitive topic, requires awareness on campus. On National Suicide Prevention Day, the Counseling Center raised recognition to this issue, alerting the University’s student populace of the available alternatives to suicide and self-harm.