By Nicole Kirkman
In light of Suicide Prevention Day this month, the University of West Georgia Counseling Center has put out information for students looking for help when things start to seem hopeless. The Counseling Center at UWG has listed the different programs students can participate in to promote healthy mentality among the campus. The UWG’s clinical coordinator, Jeff Davis, believes good things are coming from the counseling department from the university.
“The counseling center has a variety of programs like PREVENT UWG to address students’ personal and emotional needs. It’s important to realize that for the person experiencing suicidal thoughts, suicide is never the answer. There is some other problem that is causing great suffering and typically a loss of hope that things will get better,” said Davis.
A huge story involves Jarrid Wilson, a Megachurch pastor who tragically took his life two weeks ago due to his long battle with depression and anxiety. Wilson left behind a wife and two young sons and many people have asked if there were any signs which his wife believes she did not see. Stories like these are why suicide prevention is so important. Jarrid was in his early thirties but struggled with suicidal thoughts when he was in college a lot. He devoted his life to telling people about his testimony and why it’s okay to ask for help.
Students all over the University saw these headlines through social media posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and have talked about it a lot on the UWG campus. Students at the University genuinely want to know their options as midterms weigh in heavily on their minds they can find themselves battling just like Jarrid but want to know that there is hope.
“Our counselors are all trained to help students address a wide variety of difficulties including relationship difficulties, family problems, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, adjustment to college, and many more. We offer group counseling and individual counseling to help students develop capacities to address these and other challenges,” said Davis.
Suicide is at the top of the list of ways college students are dying as of recent studies and UWG wants to help students realize that they are cared for and heard when they reach out for mental support.
“Most people who act on suicidal thoughts, do show some signs of it during the weeks or days before. These signs can be direct or indirect but are often indirect until they know that they won’t be judged or shamed for having the thoughts. Some indirect clues might be saying things like, ‘I wish I could just go to sleep and never wake up,’ or ‘my family would be better off without me,’” said Davis.
It is important as college students to be aware of small clues because, if caught early, it can help peers and change the way someone values their life. The UWG Counseling Center also provides students with hotlines in case of any intense situations to ensure help is always there no matter what.
“If it is outside of our business hours, crisis services are available by calling our office at 678-839-6428 and following the directions to reach the on-call counselor. Students can also use the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 or text HELLO to 741-741 to access the crisis text line. UWG also provides a web-based method to report concerns about a member of our community, by going to westga.edu/UWGCares and completing a report,” said Davis.
Suicidal thoughts happen, mental instability and depression and anxiety happen, but the counseling center wants nothing more than to help students get to the best version of themselves.
“We want every student to know that help and support are available at all times, and that none of us have to struggle with suicidal thoughts or urges alone,” said Davis.