Mental health is often a topic that is avoided in day-to-day conversation and may be uncomfortable or deemed "taboo" to talk about. September marks the beginning of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (SPAM), which aims to not only talk about, but share ways on how students can get involved in educating people on suicide.
This marks the first year that IUPUI is engaging in SPAM, and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) aims to create a community of care by hosting events throughout the month to continue this important conversation.
Feel confident in talking about mental health
"Our goal is to promote connection, community, awareness, and support — all of which we know contributes to prevention," said Assistant Director of Outreach and Community Services Brittany Snyder.
In addition to the planned SPAM September events, CAPS will be running a Mental Health First Aid training this semester for anyone interested at no cost.
"We want campus to feel confident in talking about mental health with each other, in how we support one another," Snyder said.
Warning signs and addressing the topic with your peers
Warning signs are often overlooked and missed, which is why it is important to understand what a warning sign is and how to address it. Common warning signs include: an increase in anxiety, drastic change in sleeping patterns, expressing feelings of being trapped or hopeless, extreme mood swings, and increased substance use.
"Checking in with each other is the first step and can be as easy as asking, ‘How are you doing?' Next, we can listen, validate someone’s experience, and let them know that they are not alone. We don’t need to have the answers or fix anything. Just being there is enough," said Snyder.
Prevention begins when signs are recognized and care for the individual is put into place. When you see or hear something, say something. It can save a life.
Facts about suicide in America
According to the CDC, suicide was the second leading cause of death for college students and one suicide happens every eleven minutes in America. In 2022, around 49,500 individuals committed suicide.
"Mental health is health. Suicide prevention is something we need to do as a community," Snyder said. "This means we provide a space for others to feel safe opening up about mental health and we make sure that all have access to resources."
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, there are a variety of resources both on campus and nationally that are specific to suicide and other mental health topics.
Suicide and Crisis Hotline. Call or text 988. Options for Spanish and deaf/hard of hearing available.
Trevor Project Lifeline for LGBTQ+ students and youth. Call 866-488-7386 or text ‘START’ to 678-678.
Veterans Crisis Line is available for current and past military members and their families. Call 800-273-8255 or 800-799-4889 for accessibility for hard of hearing or deaf individuals.
Trans Lifeline offers support for trans-identifying individuals. Call 877-565-8860.
Black Mental Health Alliance provides information and resources on therapists in your area. Call 410-338-2642.
Disaster Distress Helpline Videophone includes resources and assistance for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Dial 800-985-5990 on a videophone.
Asian American Health Initiative Resource Library has resources in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Hindi.
Native and Indigenous Peoples Addiction and Mental Health Support is a crisis line for those with native and indigenous backgrounds. Call 877-596-6866.