KIRSTEN ADAIR | STAFF REPORTER
There are options other than suicide. Butler’s branch of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention stands by that notion.
Junior Kathryn Larimore, a member of the organization, said suicide is a topic that is not easily discussed.
“A lot of people don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “It’s [viewed as] a sign of weakness. On a college campus, when you are so close to people and you spend so much time with people, it’s so hard to imagine losing someone by suicide.”
Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in America during the year 2013, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. That year, more than 41,000 people committed suicide.
In addition, suicide is the second leading cause of death for high school and college-age students, and that total has risen by 1.3 percent since 2007.
AFSP’s branch at Butler is working to raise awareness of suicide and create more education programs, but there is still a long way to go.
“People generally don’t know how to approach other people about the issue,” said freshman pharmacy major Andy Robinson. “People see it as something shameful.”
Freshman Bradon Brengle said he would not know what to say to someone considering suicide, but he thinks there are a variety of ways to educate students on the issue. He suggested a presentation similar to the alcohol discussion required for first-year students.
“When we are forced to go, some people shut off and don’t want to learn anything,” he said. “Red Cup Culture was comic, and it allowed the audience to open up.”
Pharmacy major Oreoluwa Akinbo has seen the effects of suicide firsthand. She knew classmates in high school who died by suicide. She said that keychains with tips to help someone considering suicide or a suicide hotline number would be a useful way to teach and remind Butler students about how to prevent it.
“I put them all over my keys,” she said. “In the event you need to talk someone out of something, or if you need help, it is right there.”
One way Butler’s AFSP group brings awareness to suicide prevention is the annual Out of the Darkness campus walk. This year, the event will take place April 12 and will raise money for educational programs, training and support services.
“I feel like the light in which we speak about [suicide] needs to be changed,” Larimore said. “We need to talk about it more, but we need to talk about it in a more understanding way, with the purpose of education and awareness.”