World Suicide Prevention Day held at Michigan State University

Published: Sep. 10, 2018 at 6:58 PM EDT
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More than 1,000 students die on a college campus each year by suicide.

It's a number, one group at Michigan State University is working to lower, by raising awareness and breaking through the stigma with world suicide prevention day today.

College is no doubt a stressful time in life. For some, the stress can be overwhelming.

“It is sometimes difficult for students to get counseling or to go into psychiatry because of what other people might think of them,” said Reid Blanchett, co-chair of MSU’s Mental Health Committee.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students.

To kick off world suicide prevention week, staff are working harder than ever to bring the issue to the forefront.

“It’s something that were not really comfortable talking about,” said Blanchett. “We’re trying to make such a big slash on campus and making people talk about it and making people listen.”

To help make a splash, this group created an interactive art exhibit. One side with over 1,000 ribbons representing the average lives lost each year on campus by suicide.

Students and community members passing by could also write messages of support on the other side.

“People have really put a lot of thought into them and they're wonderful,” said Blanchett.

Training sessions also held on campus Friday, helping with warning signs and what to do if intervention is needed.

“I think it can be an awkward because you’re basically asserting yourself and inserting yourself to provide that support and so building those relationships, those connections with other people are very important,” said Talitha Easterly, staff Psychologist at Michigan State University.

Nothing will change overnight but this group knows every little bit helps.

“I've actually been hospitalized three times for being suicidal and that’s kind of why this is such an important event to me,” said Blanchett. “It’s something that you never even imagined that you’re going to go through and the loss, there is no words to describe it.”

The National Suicide Prevention hotline is open 24 hours a day for anyone struggling. The number is 1-800-273-8255.