Suicide prevention training offered to campus


After two students from her former high school committed suicide, junior Liz Subrin was compelled to help prevent her current peers from traveling down that same path.

“I think the hardest thing about it is reading the signs and exactly what signs point to it,” Subrin said. “Everyone is battling their own demons. No one ever talks about it. They usually keep it to themselves, but this is something students need to be aware of because it affects everyone.”

Subrin and 25 other students, staff and faculty members, attended Campus Connect, a preventative teaching program led by mental health professionals from counseling and consultation services Monday night.

Steve Hines, staff psychologist and outreach coordinator for counseling and consultation services, said the counseling center implemented this program to provide students with information regarding suicide.

“Our hope is that individuals who complete this training will be able to work on establishing a more meaningful and positive relationship to the individual in crisis,” Hines said.  “This relationship is so important. We have all experienced some form of crisis in our lives and recognize the power behind feeling supported, validated and understood.”

On average, 11,000 students commit suicide every year on college campuses nationwide, according to statistics provided by counseling services. This ranks suicide as the second leading cause of death for college students.

 Hines said Butler students face “no more problems here than the national average suggests” regarding suicide.

“Butler students do fit into the national averages—not with the actual deaths, though, thank goodness,” he said. “This year overall, 13 percent of our students have thought about committing suicide, which falls within national coverage.”

Hines said Butler’s counseling services will most likely offer the program to the campus community once a semester.

“I think this is one of many steps that need to be taken,” Subrin said. “It is all about education. This training is a preventative measure, not a guarantee.”

All resident assistants also participated in the training.

“It prepared me for a type of situation that could happen at any given moment,” Faith Oliver, Schwitzer Hall R.A., said. “I learned that people that have suicidal thoughts—you don’t know by looking at them. You never know what people are going through.”

Including speaking with an R.A., students have many other resources available to them if they are in a crisis, Hines said. Students should take advantage of the resources offered through counseling services.

The Butler University Police Department also offers a 24-hour phone service, and the suicide hotline is always available for anyone.

“When they are in that mindset, they don’t see it—see what we see,” Subrin said. “They can’t see the love we have. If we knew how to respond correctly, we could get them to understand there is help available.”