Second Annual Suicide Prevention Week begins Nov. 1

BEMIDJI, Minn. (October 21, 2011) — Bemidji State University’s Student Center for Health and Counseling is partnering with the Beltrami Area Suicide Prevention Program to present Bemidji’s Second Annual Suicide Prevention Week, Nov. 1-6.

The week of activities is designed to increase awareness of suicide among college students, and to decreast the stigma and secrecy associated with mental illness.

“ Untreated depression or other mental disorders increases the risk for suicide,” said Jay Passa, health education coordinator at Bemidji State’s Student Center for Health and Counseling. “Depression is more than having the blues or feeling down. If symptoms last for weeks or when a student stops attending classes or withdraws socially, it may be time to be concerned.”

Stephanie Downey, suicide prevention coordinator with the Beltrami Area Suicide Prevention Program, says suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students, with 1,100 suicides nationally each year.

“Statistics show many young adults do not feel comfortable seeking help from professionals and are more likely to confide in a friend,” Downey said. “Holding Suicide Prevention Week activities on campus provides students with opportunities to gather information and resources that can be instrumental in saving lives.”

The week’s keynote event is a Wednesday, Nov. 2, presentation by Sean Campbell, “You Are Not Alone: Coping With Mental Illness.” The 22-year-old Campbell, who has traveled the world advocating for a variety of mental-health awareness issues, will share his personal experiences coping with mental illness and the strategies he has developed to maintain a positive mental outlook. His presentation encourages students to acknowledge mental health issues and seek treatment.

Campbell’s presentation will be held in Hagg-Sauer 100 on the Bemidji State campus. It begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

As part of his involvement in Suicide Prevention Week, Campbell will also be speaking to students in several BSU classes during the week.

Suicide Prevention Week activities
• Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m., American Indian Resource Center
Video presentation: “Truth About Suicide – Real Stories of Depression in College,” followed by a panel discussion.

• Wednesday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m., Hagg Sauer 100
Sean Campbell, “You Are Not Alone: Coping With Mental Illness.”

• Thursday, Nov. 3 – 4 p.m., Hobson Memorial Union South Conference Room
Suicide Survivors Support Group for College Students. The local chapter of the Heartbeat Support Group provides a support group for college students who have lost loved ones to suicide.

Sean Campbell