Suicide prevention at Viterbo

By Elizabeth Otto

Online News Editor

The 38th National Suicide Prevention Week was the week of Sept. 9 through 15 this year. Around the country, people showed their support for those who are contemplating, have attempted, or have committed suicide across the nation and around the world.

Participants showed their support in several ways including writing the word “love” on their wrists or wearing yellow. There were also several events held across the nation to raise awareness of the problem of suicide in the forms of awareness walks, Facebook events, informational presentations, and other fund-raisers. College campuses hosted many of these awareness events.

A study done by the American College Health Association found that 94 percent of surveyed college and university students felt overwhelmed by their responsibilities , and 44 percent reported feelings of depression that made it difficult to function.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) published results from its National Survey on Drug Use and Health that showed that young adults ages 18 to 25 twice as likely as 26 to 49 year-olds to have serious thoughts of suicide. The question raised by this information is what are we doing to prevent suicide on our campus?

Viterbo has many resources for students feeling depressed, overwhelmed, hopeless, alone, etc. First of all, there are preventative measures in the form of opportunities to make friends and avoid isolation, because being alone is a leading cause of depression among college students. VU After Dark events are held every weekend and are open to all Viterbo students, so that is a chance to get out and meet new people in a safe and friendly environment.

Sophomore psychology major, Amanda Schindler commented, “I think [VUAD] gives us a way to socialize and make friends so we don’t get to lonely so I think they do a pretty good job.” Also, floor programs, clubs, and intermural sports provide opportunities for socialization.

When it comes to the point where a student needs professional help, Viterbo provides services to assist a student with their issues. Viterbo offers counseling services “to provide quality short-term counseling, crisis intervention, and referral services to students in a professional, timely, compassionate, and Franciscan manner,” as their mission states.

Along with three academic counselors, Viterbo has a professional personal/crises counselor, Lesely Stugelmayer. Her office is located in the Student Development Center and appointments can be made weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except holidays. Walk-in service is available on a first-come, first-served basis from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. every weekday. Students seeking counseling can find more information on the Viterbo website at http://www.viterbo.edu/counseling/ or they may schedule an appointment by calling 608-796-3825 or emailing dlhomstad@viterbo.edu.

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