FIU and Stempel College Walk to Raise Suicide Awareness
Suicide comes to the forefront when a celebrity passes away but, for many, it is a persistent daily thought. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24 in Florida – and it is on the rise.
To help raise awareness and change the conversation about mental health, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work recently hosted the FIU Out of the Darkness Walk on campus. Organized across the country in collaboration with AFSP, the walk aims to give people the courage to speak up about their own mental health struggles or losses.
“The Out of the Darkness event is a great opportunity to help illuminate a problem often neither disclosed nor asked about. Asking someone who seems at risk of suicide will not encourage it; rather, it shows care and can lighten up the initial steps in the path for help,” said Mark Macgowan, associate dean of academic affairs at Stempel College and professor of social work. “Be ready to help the person get connected to professional help and then ask how it is going. For those who need help, the event highlighted accessible care on campus, whether it is CAPS for students or EAP for faculty or staff. So, whether we are the person who needs help or we know someone who needs it, this event showed that we all have a role to bring this problem out of the darkness.”
This year, more than 80 walkers joined the event representing FIU CAPS, MPAS LGBTQA, and Student Affairs, FIU Human Resources, and, of course, Stempel College. The nearly 2 mile walk gave participants a chance to discuss how suicide has touched their lives or how to better begin a conversation with someone who may be at risk.
“It is important that we come together to talk about suicide and how it affects us all,” said Adriana Trespalacios, senior executive assistant in the office of the dean for Stempel College and event organizer. “It is a sensitive topic but one that we should all make more of an effort to discuss – it could very well save a life.”
If you or someone you care about is interested in learning more about suicide prevention, please see the resources below:
- FIU students can be referred to the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, 305-348-2277)
- FIU Employee Assistance Program: To schedule an appointment for any of our services or to request information for courses, workshops, group events, and more call (305) 348-2469, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Appointments are available between 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Early morning and evening appointments are available by request. https://hr.fiu.edu/employees-affiliates/assistance-wellness/
- Add the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) to your phone contacts in case of an emergency. The hotline is staffed 24/7 and confidential support services are available for people in distress. (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889)
- Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741
- #BeThe1To recommends five action steps to help people at risk:
- Ask—Are you thinking of suicide? (if there is an immediate risk of suicide, call 911)
- Keep them safe (reduce access to lethal means)
- Be there
- Help them connect
- Follow up
- Trevor Project Youth Suicide/ Crisis Line 1-866-488-7386: The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQA+ individuals under the age of 25.
- Miami-Dade Switchboard 2-1-1 Call 211 or 305-358-4357: 24-hour human services helpline that provides free telephone crisis counseling, crisis intervention and information and referrals that assist families and youth cope with their most pressing issues.
- Broward Switchboard 2-1-1 Call 211 or 954-537-0211: 24-hour comprehensive helpline and support services for individuals in the community seeking crisis intervention assistance and/or information and referrals to health and human services in Broward County.