Suicide is a subject that is new to neither UVU nor Utah; our state has a suicide rate above the national average, and according to a study by Mental Health America released late November of 2007, Utah suffers the highest rates of depression in the nation.

Unfortunately, this harsh reality has affected many students and students’ families in the not-too-distant past.
In the 2006-2007 school year, there were reports of three UVU students committing suicide.

In response, UVU has begun offering some recourse for individuals who might be suffering from suicidal thoughts, depression, and other mental health ailments through Student Health Services on campus.

In an attempt to provide safe harbor for these students, the Student Health Services Center is using a method called QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer). This program is mainly used to help people understand how to recognize warning signs that may precede a suicide attempt.

These warning signs may include the following:
Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
Increased alcohol or drug use
Withdrawing from friends, family and society
Anxiety, agitation, inability to sleep or excessive sleep
Dramatic mood changes
Expressing no reason for living, no sense of purpose in life

There are a number of persistent myths about suicide. It is important to recognize these as the dangerous falsehoods that they are. The following are some of the more prevalent among these:

People who talk about suicide usually don’t go through with it. False.

Thinking about suicide is rare. False.

Suicidal people are fully intent on dying. False. Most suicidal people are undecided about living or dying. This is called “suicidal ambivalence,” which is when a part of the person wants to live, but death seems like the only way out of his or her pain and suffering. The person will sometimes gamble with death, leaving it up to others to save them.

Everyone who dies by suicide is depressed. False.

You can’t stop someone who really wants to die by suicide. False.

Talking to someone about suicide will put the idea into his or her head. False.

Fortunately, UVSC has two professionals trained in the QPR program that are willing to put on presentations for small groups, which can be in a classroom setting or even a group as small as four or five people.

“My goal in the next couple of years is to educate and to train as many people on our campus in how to prevent suicide and recognize the signs and symptoms, whether it be within themselves, an acquaintance, or someone they know and love,” said J.C. Graham, from Student Health Services, regarding suicide awareness and prevention.

“QPR is based off the concept of CPR: The more people learn CPR, the more lives are saved as a prevention model.”

These classes are for those who may have a friend they are worried about or anyone who would like to be more informed.

Information about getting involved with this program may be found at the Student Health Services Center located in sc221 or by contacting J.C. Graham at (801) 863-6073.

If you or anyone you know is showing warning signs of suicide, there are multiple outlets for help: Utah County Hotline (801) 226-4433, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255), or UVSC’s Student Heath Services (801) 863-8397 or (801) 863-8876.