September is suicide awareness month and, in conjunction with this awareness period, the SFU Counseling Center hosted a viewing of a documentary titled “It’s Real” on Sept. 18.
“Our hope is that it helps to educate students, to help them dismiss the stigma surrounding mental health issues,” said Sue Obarsky, Assistant Director of the University Counseling Center. “Just kind of normalizing the experience of depression and anxiety and suicidal thoughts.”
The film began with college students telling their stories of the difficulties of transitioning to college – these transitions made them feel alone and depressed.
SFU students are encouraged to visit SFU’s Counseling Center if they experience these kinds of feelings.
“We want students to become aware of the resources at the counseling center,” said Obarsky.
At the end of the film, a speaker from the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention spoke about his own experiences. “Sean” is a two-time survivor of suicide attempts.
He gave a very inspirational speech outlining how people can help others. He also spoke about how the role of gender and expectations can exact a toll on teens.
“Our mental health, physical health and spiritual health are all one in the same,” he said. “They all support each other and they can all distract from each other.
“If we’re not taking care of any of those areas, we can be negatively affected in other areas.”
Mental Health Awareness Month events run through the end of September. This includes a walk around the mall and a candlelight vigil for those who have been affected by suicide. This event will be hosted by Residence Life.