VINCENNES– Vincennes University is recognizing National Suicide Prevention Month with multiple events during September to support suicide prevention awareness.
The VU Counseling Center works with community partners to educate students, faculty, staff, and the public about preventing suicide.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It reports suicide rates increased by approximately 36 percent between 2000-2021.
The Counseling Center will sponsor a free lunch and learn event about mental health and suicide prevention for VU students, faculty, staff, and community members on Friday, Sept. 15, at 11 a.m. (ET) in Beckes Student Union. TED Talks Speaker and Educator Ann Moss Rogers will share her personal story as the featured speaker. Registration is required.
On Saturday, Sept. 16, the Counseling Center will host its annual Knox County Suicide Prevention Walk on the Vincennes Campus. The walk begins at 9 a.m. (ET) at the VU Outdoor Track, 1600 Short St. Registration for the walk is free, and all are welcome to participate. The rain location is the indoor track at the VU Student Recreation Center.
“Suicide prevention awareness is not just about saving lives,” said VU Counseling Center Counselor and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kathy Evans. “It’s about erasing stigma, nurturing hope, fostering empathy, encouraging support, and reminding each other that we are not alone.”
In 2021, there were 1,129 deaths by suicide in Indiana. According to a 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the Indiana Youth Institute reported 27.7 percent of Indiana students in grades 9-12 reported seriously considering attempting suicide, and 11.8 percent of Hoosier students attempted suicide during the preceding 12 months.
Suicide affects people of all ages, sexes, and racial/ethnic groups. People age 85 and older have the highest rates of suicide, according to the CDC.
The hopeful news is suicide is preventable. The National Institute of Mental Health suggests five action steps people can take to help someone in emotional pain: Ask "Are you thinking about killing yourself?"; Keep Them Safe by reducing access to lethal items and places; Be There by listening carefully and acknowledging their feelings; Help Them Connect by calling or texting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Number or connecting them with a trusted individual; and Stay Connected by following up after a crisis.
VU’s Counseling Center provides confidential emotional counseling and consultation to all VU students. Learn more HERE.