Incidences on campus spur suicide awareness

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Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 - 12:00am

Approximately every 17 minutes someone in the United States will commit suicide.

Utah has the 12-highest suicide rate in the nation, with 19-21 years old being the second highest risk group only to the 85 and over. As of September 12, 2005, the CDC reported the rate of suicide went down nationally by .09 percent from 2003 to 2004. In Utah, however, they rose by 12.5 percent. (ibis.health.utah.gov, www.xmission.com/~mhaut)

One in 12 college students in Utah have made a suicide plan. (www.xmission.com/~mhaut). This number alone is cause for concern to colleges all across the state.

In a recent campus-wide email, Bill Osborn wrote, "At a recent meeting of the Utah Dean of Students the urgent topic of discussion was the growing incidence of student contemplated and attempted suicides.

Unfortunately, not even CEU is immune from the alarming numbers that are being reported.   The University of Utah reported on a 'Suicide Protocol' that is being developed to assist members of the university community to deal with incidences of attempted and completed suicide.  

Currently, a committee at CEU is working to develop a protocol for our community.     The wise to provide some guidance to members of the community before the protocol's development is complete."

He outlined what warning signs faculty members and students should look for in their peers to assess their risk level and the appropriate action to take if one is concerned.

"Almost nonexistent: no direct or indirect evidence for suicide ideation, rumination, or behaviors. Refer to counseling services/Tracy Kitchen 613-5326.

Low: only passive/death wishes (tired of living/pain fleeting ideation), refer to counseling services.

Moderate: ideation without plan, means, or motivation (ambivalence, wondering, considering), refer to counseling services.

Significantly likely: persistent ideation, making plans, acquiring means, call 911, then call Assistant Dean of Students Bill Osborn 650-3529 or Kitchen 630-1919.

Very high: serious/high-lethality attempt is likely in near future, call 911, then call Osborn 650-3529 or Kitchen 630-1919.

Acute and immediate: persistent and preoccupying thoughts, continual effort, attempt, call 911, then call Osborn 650-3529 or Kitchen 630-1919.

He also explained some warning signs including "declining classroom performance, sleeping during class, or high rates of absenteeism.   Students will often write in essays their ideations."

Other warning signs of suicidal behavior include: Talking about dying, a recent loss, change in personality, change in behavior, change in sleep patterns, change in eating habits, fear of losing control, low self esteem, no hope for the future, giving away favorite things, making out wills, arranging for pet care, extravagant spending, restlessness or lethargy.

If you feel you are at risk for suicide there are national toll-free hotline you can call: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) and 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8355).

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