Events Planned for Suicide Prevention Month

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September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Each academic year, events are organized to inform the University community of warning signs, as well as the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

A candlelight vigil will be held in remembrance of lost loved ones on Sept. 23. The event is titled “Out of the Darkness and Into the Light” and will be held at the Holy Immaculate Conception Chapel at 7 p.m.

On Sept. 28, a presentation by Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiakowski titled “The Truth About Suicide” will be held in JFK Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Saint Francis’ Counseling Center plays a major role in organizing National Suicide Prevention Month events, as well as other events throughout the year that are designed to bring awareness to mental health and wellness issues.

In “The Truth About Suicide,” Kwiakowski will discuss suicide risk factors and warning signs. He will also highlight the resources available to those who experience suicidal thoughts.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among 10 to 24-year-olds in the United States.

“It is our hope that students will be able to recognize the signs of depression or suicide in themselves or others and reach out for the help they may need,” said Saint Francis Counselor Susan Obarsky. “It is also our goal to reduce the stigma by affirming that seeking help to any issue that may be causing one distress is a healthy response and promotes overall wellness.”

The goals of the program are simple yet powerful.

“For a student who may identify symptoms of high anxiety, suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, it is important they talk to someone and share their concerns with someone who is in a position to help them,” Obarsky said.

“That someone may be their medical provider or a counselor.”