Jacob Goetz, Staff Writer
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and Florida State University has many programs and resources that provide tools and resources in spreading awareness.
With suicide being declared a health epidemic by the World Health Organization, experts at Florida State shared their input and the accessibility of suicide prevention resources offered at FSU. Many of these resources are free and available at any time.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide among college students is the second leading cause of death. College students are affected by suicide for many different reasons, some of the most common being depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, sexual assault and financial stress.
Looking for the signs of poor mental health or suicidal tendencies can be an important factor as well. According to the Center for Disease Control, individuals who are experiencing suicidal tendencies have similar indicators. These include increased alcohol or drug use, extreme mood swings, visible signs of anxiety, withdrawal from a class or other social engagements and giving away valued possessions.
With college being a high-stress environment, these individual units of measurement for a change in mental health can occur almost instantaneously. To prevent these negative thoughts and behaviors, FSU offers many tools and resources for suicide prevention.
According to the Noles C.A.R.E. page, a suicide prevention program both online-based and in-person, FSU students have several different tools and resources available for them.
Resources available for confidential communication include the FSU Counseling and Psychology Services, who are available to talk 24/7 at 850-644-8255. University Health Services can be reached at 850-644-6230. Students in an emergency are encouraged to contact the Florida State Police Department at 850-644-1234. These resources for mental health and suicide prevention can be used to refer a friend as well.
An expert of mental health at Florida State University shared his insight on the services offered at Florida State University for depression and suicide prevention. Dr. Andrew Kozel is a Professor and the Mina Jo Powell Endowed Chair in Neurological Sciences at Florida State University who works in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine. Dr. Kozel first shared his insight on the causes of suicidal thoughts and helpful prevention techniques.
“Depression as well as suicidal thoughts and behaviors do not have a single cause," Kozel said. "They are the result of a complex mixture of biology, psychology and environment. Sometimes these episodes appear to have clear precipitants like a trauma or significant loss but can occur without these obvious precipitants as well.”
Dr. Kozel then went on to share helpful tools and techniques for preventing depression and suicidal thoughts. Dr. Kozel said that several tools have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing a person's likelihood of experiencing negative thoughts.
“Engaging in healthy behaviors will benefit your brain similar to the rest of your body," Kozel said. "These include regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, keeping a regular sleep-wake cycle, maintaining social connectedness, limiting toxins such as alcohol or marijuana, and seeking help when symptoms occur.”
Dr. Kozel was able to add insight on the effectiveness of the mental health resources Florida State University offers.
“FSU provides many effective tools for treating depression and dramatically reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Depression cannot currently be cured but can be managed so that people can live very productive and happy lives". Dr. Kozel said that many of the free or reduced cost resources available at Florida State are effective in reducing depression and suicide prevention.
"These treatments such as psychotherapy and medications will work for the majority of patients. There are some patients, however, who cannot either tolerate these treatments or for whom they are not effective. We are leading several research efforts to study new treatments at FSU including various forms of neuromodulation.”
According to the association, treating your mental health is just as important as treating your physical health. Many different resources and techniques proven by the association have been successful in helping others prevent suicidal tendencies.
Individuals who want to prevent suicidal tendencies in others also have access to many mechanisms. Five suggestions according to the Center for Disease Control are to ask someone about their mental health and regularly check-up with friends to ensure they are okay, keep them safe by trying your best to reduce triggers of depression or limit their access to lethal objects, listen to their experiences and what they need at that moment, help them connect and socialize and stay connected and follow up on their mental health status.