College offers suicide prevention resources

Emmy Hardy, Copy Desk Chief

Suicide rates are rising, particularly among people under the age of 25. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To combat this, Dallas College offers a variety of suicide prevention resources. The Office of Counseling and Psychological Services provides a service called ASK Training for students, staff and faculty.

ASK Training is geared toward training individuals to recognize suicidal tendencies. Mental health first aid training is another resource provided by the counseling center. Katie Neff, a licensed professional counselor at Brookhaven Campus, said, “Mental health first aid training is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.”

There are multiple signs of suicidal tendencies. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, some signs include expressing feelings of hopelessness or being trapped, demonstrating an observable increase in alcohol or drug use, becoming generally withdrawn and displaying humiliation or shame. These are only some of many tells one may find in a person with suicidal tendencies.

Neff said if an individual is displaying clear intentions to self harm, or plans to harm another individual, it is imperative to call 911, the campus police at 972-860-4290 or the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Neff said, “Stay with the individual until help arrives, asking them directly if they are thinking about killing themselves and have access to lethal means.”

Neff said it is important for students to support and check in on one another. “Truly ask another individual, ‘How are you doing?’” she said.

In addition to suicide-oriented resources, the counseling services office offers free professional counseling for all students. At Brookhaven, the counseling center is located in Room S136.

Dallas College will present a Mental Health and Wellness Symposium 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 5 in the Hoblitzelle Auditorium of the Bill J. Priest Center in Dallas. The event will focus on bringing awareness to mental health and reducing stigma surrounding the subject. The event will be free to attend and open to all students, staff, faculty and community members.

A live stream will be provided for people to attend the event virtually. Breakfast and lunch will be available to all who attend in person.

Neff said suicide is an extremely pressing issue to address. “Just as if someone is having a heart attack or stroke and calls 911 for assistance, we also need to be prepared to help our community and make the call for a higher level of care,” she said.