By Michelle Baker
Counseling Service organized a series of events in observance of National Suicide Prevention Week. Starting on Monday, Sept. 9, through Thursday, Sept.12, events will be held in the Knowledge Center Breezeway and are geared towards acknowledging, recognizing and preventing suicidal behavior.
The events seek to create an awareness about mental health, including anxiety and depression. There will be workshops that boost positive thoughts and behaviors, both known to increase mental health and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Students can also expect to be greeted by the dogs from Take5, one of many programs offered by Counseling Services, which help students manage stress and coping skills.
Anxiety, stress and depression are the three most common psychiatric conditions that students face, according to a study by the Association for University and College Counselling Center Directors.
Marcia Cooper, the associate director and the director of clinical services states Counseling Services strives to create an environment that invites people to feel comfortable discussing their mental health, similar to visiting a doctor if you are feeling sick.
“We are raising awareness that mental health and self-care is important to everybody,” Cooper said. “By having Take 5 in the Knowledge Center we are normalizing seeking counseling and making it accessible.”
A study in the 2015 National Academic Health Assessment found that 85 percent of college students reported feeling overwhelmed by their daily tasks within the past year. A new environment away from friends, family, managing a heavy academic load and struggling to create close relationships may lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are all factors that can increase stress and anxiety in young adults.
The events will have information on available student resources for those who may be struggling, but the overall purpose is to create an open network for friends and colleagues to become another support system for those who may be struggling.
The week also focuses on the importance of self-care and is geared towards creating a greater sense of community, according to Cooper.
“Events like these bring awareness to the fact that everyone at some point needs a little help and support,” Cooper said.
The closeout event at the Knowledge Center’s Nook Room in 221 on Thursday will be an hour-long awareness workshop, dealing with how to recognize if someone may be experiencing depression and how to be of service to your fellow students. This includes withdrawing from friends, family and interests, drastic changes in mood or behavior, and/or talking about death or wanting to kill themselves.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental illness or exhibiting suicidal behavior, contact Counseling Services at (775) 784-4648 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or the University of Nevada, Reno, Police Department Dispatch at (775) 334-COPS immediately.
Michelle Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.