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GEORGIA COLLEGE & STATE UNIVERSITY

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GC increases suicide prevention and mental health awareness

 

GC’s Office of Health Promotion and GC Counseling Services have teamed up this semester to fight mental health issues on campus by spreading knowledge and support throughout the student body.

 

Each month, GC kicks off its mission to increase suicide prevention and mental health awareness by hosting an awareness event called “Minding Your Mental Health.” For September’s event, Student Affairs hosted a suicide prevention seminar with Dr. Figueroa from Coliseum Health Systems.

 

On Oct. 24, they screened the film “It’s Real: College Students and Mental Health,” which was created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The film discussed real students who have dealt with mental health issues and how they coped.

 

For their November event, speaker Taylor Wesley discussed overall mental wellness for students, speaking about her own struggles and encouraging students to learn healthy coping strategies and ask for help.

 

The Office of Health Promotion also began a poster campaign on campus with the theme “Mental Health Problems are not Mythical Creatures...They Do Exist.” Along with mythical creatures like mermaids, these posters display GC Counseling & Care Line phone numbers and a QR code students can scan to see more Georgia resources for any mental health issues.

 

“For youth between ages 18 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death,” reveals the National Center for Health Statistics website. “Suicide is a serious, but preventable, problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families and communities.”

 

College is a particularly challenging time for many students, said Susan Spencer, a licensed professional counselor and a certified professional counselor supervisor.

 

“Homesickness, adjusting to roommates, having to make regular choices independently, peer pressure, feeling alone, managing time and stress are some of the factors that impact mental health,” Spencer said.

 

GC offers numerous resources for students who feel overwhelmed or suicidal, according to Rachel Pope, prevention coordinator for GC’s Office of Health Promotion.

 

“Mental health affects every student, and every student can learn how to cope with the problems that arise,” Pope said. “There are many services in place on campus to help students. We care. If you need help, reach out.”

 

Counseling, Student Health Services, The Office of Health Promotion and Public Safety are just a few places students can start looking for help. These GC staff members are trying to get students to use the hashtag #MoreSmilesLessStigma.

 

“You never know how much a smile can influence even the worst of days,” Pope said.

 

In the last year, the GC Counseling Center has seen approximately 10 percent of the GC population: around 618 students.

 

“Counseling Services is a supportive and accepting environment for students of all belief systems and identities,” said licensed professional counselor Shadisha Bennett Brodde. “All of our therapists have also had training in suicide prevention, and we want to help.”

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