Mental health and suicide awareness after Ball State suicide

Entrance to Butler’s Counseling Services office in the Health and Recreation Complex. Photo by Adam Cvik. 


A day after classes started at Ball State University, basketball player and sophomore student Zach Hollywood committed suicide. He was 19 years old.

Ball State students were encouraged to seek out counseling services on and off campus after the tragedy, according to a statement told to WISHTV Channel 8.

Less than 25 percent of people with a mental disorder seek treatment, according to the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

Butler students can find help on campus at the Counseling and Consultation Services center located in the Health and Recreation Complex. The center connects students with a counselor to receive specific, individualized support. All counseling and consultation services are free for Butler students.

Sarah Diaz, associate director of health education and outreach programs, said the first step is reaching out. Students can set up an appointment or walk in for services at any time.

“All of our counseling center staff are generalists,” Diaz said. “They all have the ability to meet students who are experiencing a variety of concerns.”

All services at the center are confidential. If in need of services, students can contact the center at 317-940-9385.

On-campus organizations, such as American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Peers Advocating Wellness for Students, host mental health awareness events throughout the year.

The AFSP Butler chapter hosts the Out of the Darkness Walk each spring. The event raises money for the AFSP foundation to prevent suicide and promote awareness. Last year’s event raised more than $18,000 for the cause.

Drew Brothers, senior economics and political science major, is the president of Butler’s AFSP chapter.

“Through this walk and through changing the stigma surrounding mental health, we want people to know this isn’t something you should go through alone,” Brothers said. “There are people who will be there for you, so you don’t have to be alone. It’s starting a discussion to help people to get to a better place.”

AFSP also hosts Mental Health Awareness week where students can pledge to promote positive mental health practices. AFSP hopes to grow the number of members in their chapter, Brothers said.

“We want to get more people involved because the more people that start a conversation about mental health, the more lives that can be potentially saved,” Brothers said.

The mental health awareness and physical well-being group, PAWS, also hosts various positive events throughout the year, like Press Pause and Stress-Less.

Blair Findlay, senior and PAWS education committee chair, said students can find out about events through social media, like their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“The Butler mindset makes all of us high achievers, but it can also be very dangerous because everyone feels like they have to be hyper-involved with perfect grades,” Findlay said. “It’s just realizing that we aren’t all perfect and we need to take time to de-stress.”

If you or someone you know is threatening immediate self harm, call 911 or contact BUPD 317-940-BUPD

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Call: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line:

Text CONNECT to 741741

Local Crisis Hotline:

Call: 317-251-7575


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One Comment;

  1. Harold A. Maio said:

    —-Through this walk and through changing the stigma surrounding mental health

    Hearing someone say there is a stigma surrounding mental health ought cause us consternation, instead, for many it calls for simply repeating the statement, and each repetition adds to the harm done.

    Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor