On Friday, Sept. 9, the Service Members and Veterans of America (SMVA) hosted an event at the Bell Tower to inform Tech students about the dangers of suicide and how to help prevent it; September is national Suicide Awareness and Prevention month, and is socially dedicated to helping people who may have overcome overwhelming circumstances and preventing them from considering taking their own lives.
Shadow Skidgel, an emergency management major from Clarksville and president of SMVA, said, “We are trying to raise awareness for veterans and students.”
Skidgel, Emily Jorgensen, an emergency management major from Washington, D.C., and Hunter Bramlitt, a counselor at the Health and Wellness Center, all manned the booth on Friday.
They spent their time talking to students about the warning signs of suicide and how to reach out for help for themselves and for friends or family members who may be at risk.
They also handed out various sheets of information about the warning signs of suicide, how to help, and a suicide risk questionnaire.
Possible warning signs of suicide include: showing impulsive behavior, insomnia posts [on social media], feeling alone, hopeless, isolated, useless, or a burden to others, and showing irritability and hostility that is out of character, according to an informative pamphlet from Facebook, Instagram, The Jed Foundation and The Clinton Foundation.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, “suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in America.” It also reported “Arkansas is ranked seventeenth in the country for suicide,” and leads to 368 Arkansans losing their lives annually.
Students who feel any of these warning signs describe themselves or family members or friends are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or to contact the Health and Wellness Center where students receive ten free counseling sessions per academic year, according to Bramlitt.