Suicide prevention

Recognizing the warnings can save a life

In the last 12 months, an estimated 7 percent of Ferris students have considered suicide.

Paul Sullivan, director of Birkam Health Center, said depression is the NO.1 problem on college campuses. According to Sullivan, there has been one student suicide this year that took place in an off-campus residence in September.

“It’s tragic; it’s very difficult and saddening for other people when that (suicide) happens,” said Sullivan.

On campuses around the country, there are an estimated 1,100 suicides per year, which equals approximately 18-20 million college students.

Sullivan said Ferris’ counseling center pays a lot of attention to students who have depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. According to Sullivan, depression can range from short-term to long-term (chronic) depression.

He said if a student comes in with chronic depression, counseling staff often reviews the students’ family history.

“In other words, it runs in the family and if there’s a genetic pre-disposition for depression, then they are good candidates for getting on an anti-depressant,” said Sullivan. “Certainly, not every student is a good candidate for anti-depressants, but some students are.”

Currently, the counseling center does approximately 160 programs a year including topics on stress, depression, suicide, anxiety, how to manage stress and suicidal thoughts and how to cope with depression and recognize symptoms.

Sullivan said he urges any students experiencing depression to come to the counseling center.

“Depression is an emotional problem that’s very treatable and is easier to treat than other psychological problems,” said Sullivan. “Go to somebody, it can be your boss, teacher, advisor, educational counselor, anybody.”

He also said students should acknowledge others who may be suffering from symptoms of depression.

“If you come across someone who’s suicidal and expresses such thoughts, sit down with them to talk and listen – listening can diffuse the thoughts of someone who’s suicidal, and then encourage them to get help.”

Anyone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, depression or anxiety can come to the counseling center Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. or 1 – 5 p.m. or call ext. 5968. n