By LANISSA PATTERSON
September is suicide prevention month and Pima Community College is holding a virtual event to spread awareness. The event will be held virtually over Zoom on Thursday, September 10th from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.. The Zoom code will be provided after a quick registration via this link https://bit.ly/3jvLPAG.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has dedicated September 10th as World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the IASP, “Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge. Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages, responsible for one death every 40 seconds.”
Pima Community College‘s Student Life & Academic Success Counselors Sylvia Loustaunau-Romero and Erika Elias are tackling this challenge. President and Executive Vice Chancellor, Dolores Durán-Cerda, says she understands this is a stressful time for students. “With all of the rapid changes over the past six months, Pima understands that many of you face challenges keeping the many facets of your life in balance,” she said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the outbreak of COVID-19 has also increased fear, anxiety and loneliness due to social distancing. The CDC also states that Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can cause fear and worry about one’s own health and the health of others, difficulty sleeping or concentrating and worsening of mental health conditions.
One of the main goals of the event is to increase awareness and advocacy for suicide prevention. Providing education about things that cause suicide and its warning signs, challenging the stigma associated with it and sharing your own experiences are all ways to make a difference according to the IASP.
Suicide prevention and awareness includes normalizing reaching out to others when suspecting something might be wrong. It is as simple as checking in on the ones you love. The IASP notes that kindness is a useful prevention tool: “People are often reluctant to intervene, for many reasons, including a fear of not knowing what to say. It is important to remember, there is no specific formula. Empathy, compassion, genuine concern, knowledge of resources and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy.”
Not only will the event cover suicide prevention, but it will also provide information on Pima’s own mental health resources. Student Wellness Assistance resources are continuously available to students, including a 24/7 phone number so that students can talk to a counselor, as well as information and videos to help students find solutions to their problems.