September is Suicide Prevention Month

It’s been a difficult time. The month of September, though only a few days in, has brought us cold winds, power outages, an ongoing attempt to struggle through the pandemic, and political polarization causing mental fatigue galore. We feel the chilly gusts, we notice the darkness, and we are continuing the uphill battle against COVID-19 together. In the difficulty, however, we find hope and something to strive for. The month of September has brought us an important message and goal: to prevent the loss of life. September is Suicide Prevention Month. It is a reminder for us to hold our loved ones close and to remember the joys of life.

You are not alone

Suicide Prevention Month is focused around looking out for those who may be struggling and remembering to check in with yourself. There is no denying the difficulty of the times we are living in, but there is always hope. We hope that this month you take the time to reach out to friends, family, and peers and check in. We also encourage you this month to take the time to check in with yourself. Please reach out to resources on or off campus if you are feeling unwell. The first step of reaching out is always the hardest, but know that we are here to make the process as smooth as possible. There is never shame in asking for help.

There is one strong message the University of Utah hopes to spread to our campus community— you are not alone. Our students, staff, and faculty are here to lean on in times of struggle. There is hope and there is help. If you or a loved one are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out. If a loved one has mentioned to you their struggles, feel free to direct them to any of these resources on campus. We are here to support and help you through these current circumstances and the unforeseen ones as they come about.

Campus resources

Utah Crisis Line

In association with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Utah Crisis Line provides compassionate support. This is a 24/7, free, and confidential service. They have interpreters in more than 150 languages who can help.

They can also send out mobile crisis outreach teams in many areas throughout the state to provide fast, free, face-to-face or virtual video response.

Call 1-800-273-8255

SafeUT App

The SafeUT Crisis Chat and Tip Line is a service that provides 24/7 real-time, confidential, emotional support, suicide prevention and referral services to students, parents, and educators. Call 1-833-372-3388.

University Counseling Center (UCC)

The University Counseling Center provides compassionate and confidential mental health services for students. This includes individual counseling, couples counseling, group counseling, psychiatric medication services, and the Mindfulness Center workshops.

Women’s Resource Center (WRC)

The Women’s Resource Center is the central resource for educational and confidential support services for women. They provide individual counseling, with a special focus and expertise in the psychology of women and gender. They in partnership with other Student Affair offices and academic entities, they provide advocacy. Additionally, they are prepared to give referrals and other resources to best address individual concerns.

Center for Disability and Access 

Students are welcome to go through the ADA process at the Center for Disability and Access for mental health related concerns. There, they can find out if they can receive academic and/or campus accommodations.

Office of the Dean of Students

In case of a sudden event causing significant emotional distress or just general life disruptions, the Office of the Dean of Students can provide individual case management. This allows a student to get referred to resources on campus, and some cases will come with academic accommodations so that the student in question does not have a single event ruin their ability to continue studying that semester.

Center for Student Wellness (CSW)

The Center for Student Wellness houses the Victim-Survivor Advocacy program. Victim-Survivor Advocates provide free, confidential, and trauma informed support services to students, faculty and staff who have experienced interpersonal violence of any kind such as dating and domestic violence, sexual harassment, stalking, sexual assault or rape. They can provide support and assistance by talking through the impacts of interpersonal violence on your safety, wellness, academics, and help you make a plan for how you can move forward with justice and healing.

University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI)

Operated by University of Utah Health, the University Neuropsychiatric Institute provides specialty programs to prevent mental health crises and supports individuals through them if they happen. Their team of professionals provide services such as compassionate and non-judgmental emotional support, suicide prevention, and mental health crisis management.

SafeU

SafeU is a comprehensive website for all safety-related information, reporting and support services, training and more at the University of Utah. 

Student organizations

There are many student groups that address mental health and wellness advocacy.

Yellow for Life

A student organization that takes a positive, encouraging, and evidence-based approach to suicide prevention and awareness.

NAMI on Campus at the University of Utah (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

A student organization that helps address the mental health needs of students and raise mental health awareness at the U by providing peer support, education and advocacy.

Student Resources Board in ASUU

The ASUU Student Resources Board offers one-one, student-to-student consultations to help students in need. The board is able to point students in the direction of resources that are fit for their personal situations. The Student Resources Board also has a designated Wellness Chair who can specifically address mental health concerns.

Moving forward

We hope that you take this month to remember the big and small joys of life. The way the trees change color around this time, the luck of beating the rush to the campus store Starbucks, quality time spent with friends and family, and so much more. There is so much to live for. We mourn the loss of those who have lost their battles with suicidal ideation and wish healing for their loved ones. This September we hope to prevent the loss of life and call our campus community to come together for those around us. We are always better together.

Respectfully signed,

Center for Student Wellness

The 2020-2021 Student Body Presidency, ASUU

Contributors:

Michelle Valdes, Vice President of Student Relations, ASUU;

Ayana Amaechi, Vice President of University Relations, ASUU;

Katie Boonkrataung, Communications Specialist, Center for Student Wellness;

John York, Mental Health Intern, Center for Student Wellness