Aaron Tan / Courier Students talk to peer counselors in the quad on May 15, 2019. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and PCC is offering a series of workshops and events to raise awareness about mental health.
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For college students, life can be overwhelming. In an attempt to become successful for the long term future, sacrifices have to be made. From the countless hours of studying, having a job to pay for everything and maintaining a social life with friends and family, it can all be very difficult. Unfortunately for some, maintaining this lifestyle is just too much and thoughts of depression and suicide cloud those who are in need of help the most and it’s impossible to spot them in plain sight.

Walking around PCC every day, it’s impossible to tell if a random student you see on campus is having a good day or a miserable day. Those who may be suffering may be hiding their true feelings due to the embarrassment and possible judgment of others for having symptoms of depression even though PCC has private counselors on campus that are available for students at any time.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and PCC hosted multiple events around campus to inform students about the possible signs and stressors that students who may be suffering from depression can be helped.

Hosted in the Creveling Lounge to a small group of students and faculty, Susan Auerbach, a volunteer for Didi Hirsch, held a presentation discussing vital ways of detecting someone who has discussed about commiting suicide and how they can be helped.

Didi Hirsch is one of the leading suicide prevention centers in the country.

“The best way to assess someone’s mental state is to simply ask if they are thinking of commiting suicide,” Auerbach said. “It’s also important to show empathy for those who are suffering by understanding and possibly relating with them in how they feel.”

The presentation went into detail about the major risk factors in how someone who is thinking of committing suicide may have which includes substance abuse, addiction, family history and access the guns. With suicide being the 3nd leading cause of death for young people aged 10-24 according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) it’s vital to spread the word about mental health awareness around campus.

“We have to have more events like this,” Ralph Wynne, a member of Nami said. “Not enough people on campus understand that a lot of people are suffering from mental health issues and are to afraid to seek help.”

Nami is an advocacy group for representing people who are affected by mental illness.

Another event that was hosted on campus in correlation with Mental Health Awareness month was a documentary hosted in Harbeson Hall titled “The S-word” which featured stories of suicide attempt survivors and their stories after their attempts. Suicide may be seen as the solution to all of the answers to those who are suffering but those who share their stories of life after their attempts feel uplifting as most of them turn their lives around for the better and/or become activists for mental health awareness programs.

“Being brave enough to share a personal story of one’s suicide story is truly inspiring,” student Natasha Gunante said. “I think students should see this documentary and see how important it is to understand how people who are suffering from mental illness really feel.”

If you or anyone you know may be suffering from depression or have had thoughts of committing suicide you can call the Didi Hirsch prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 or go to the nearest Didi Hirsch mental health clinic to receive one-on-one counseling which is located at 1540 East Colorado St in Glendale.

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