What to keep in mind during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Butler counseling services offer student support. Photo by Hannah Barone.

HAILEY PALOMO | STAFF REPORTER | hpalomo@butler.edu 

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, occurring annually in September, is recognized as a time to acknowledge those affected by suicide, raise awareness of mental health and help those struggling with suicidal ideation obtain necessary resources and treatment services. 

The importance of suicide prevention 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Mental health has become the defining public health and societal challenge of our time.” Coming in at second for people ages 10-14 and 20-34, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. 

Since being declared in 2008, suicide prevention month has helped to destigmatize the topic of suicide and more effectively connect individuals and families to resources without fear of judgment. The topic of suicide can be a very sensitive and uncomfortable topic, but senior secondary education major Chloe Enk suggests that there are times when these difficult conversations are necessary. 

“My biggest thing is checking in on your loved ones even if you notice they’re … just acting even a little bit different,” Enk said. “It’s better to check in and see that nothing’s wrong, and just [be] there for support.” 

Although this conversation may be nerve-wracking, checking in on a loved one can save a life. Spreading awareness of suicide prevention month and destigmatizing the conversation can also encourage someone experiencing a mental health crisis to reach out for help. 

“Take care of yourself,” Enk said. “You’re all important.” 

Beyond checking in, how can students be more involved with suicide prevention? 

There are plenty of opportunities for students to be more involved with suicide prevention, such as joining and donating to organizations that help those affected by suicide. Kyle Kane, junior strategic communication major and president of Sigma Nu, referenced the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which is a volunteer-based mental health organization that is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. Sigma Nu’s philanthropy is AFSP, which makes it much easier for students to be more active about suicide prevention and awareness. 

Be the Voice, Butler’s student chapter of AFSP, hosts the Out of the Darkness Walk, which is a fundraising opportunity that benefits the AFSP. The mile walk around campus takes about an hour and helps to build awareness and connection within a community. 

“We stand for unity in the battle [for] mental health,” Kane said. “[It is] never something that can be taken on yourself.” 

What are SGA and Butler doing for suicide prevention? 

On Sept. 11, Butler hosted An Evening with Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy on Mental Health Awareness. Kennedy has been an outspoken advocate for mental health and addiction. He served as a lead author of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and has worked to unite government agencies and facilitate action. 

Coming up, Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) is hosting suicide prevention training through Campus Connect. On Sept. 14 from 1-4 p.m. in the CCS office, Campus Connect will provide suicide prevention training aimed towards students, faculty and staff who want to learn more about suicide prevention. The suicide prevention training is also available upon request. CCS has done this training in the past for Health Services, athletics, various departments and staff. 

Those interested can email cwarfiel@butler.edu for more information or to sign up. 

Julia Fryrear, a senior sociology-criminology major, is the Student Government Association (SGA) director of mental health and well-being. Fryrear said on Oct. 10, also known as World Mental Health Day, SGA is planning an event to try and help students feel supported by SGA and the university. 

“We want to make sure that all students feel like they’re able to speak and be supportive and can] be supported by the university,” Fryrear said. 

Fryrear also mentioned the Mental Health First Aid training through BU|BeWell. This training gives students the skills they need to recognize signs of mental health issues. It also teaches students how to reach out to loved ones that are developing mental health or substance abuse problems and connect them to appropriate care. 

“I did the mental health first aid training this summer,” Fryrear said. “It gives you so much important information. Personally, I think everyone is able to benefit from it.” 

On-campus resources 

The university provides many different resources, primarily through the BU|Be Well program. Through the Mind & Body dimension of BU|BeWell, Butler provides a variety of mental health resources. These include free access to the Calm app, the Preventia app, ThrivingCampus and Mental Health First Aid training. The Center for Faith and Vocation, St. Vincent Stress Center, Community North Hospital and MindWise Mental Health screenings are also available resources either provided by or promoted by Butler. 

Dr. Keith Magnus, director of Counseling and Consultation Services, explained that CCS is prepared to make a comfortable environment for students to feel safe reaching out for help. 

“We realize that [there can be] stigma attached coming into our doors,” Magnus said. 

CCS works to provide a space where students can feel comfortable reaching out for help. Breaking through the stigma surrounding mental health and the understanding that their services are confidential helps students to feel safe in the environment. Magnus also pointed out that CCS also does not charge for their services, making it a very easily accessible resource for students. 

CCS’s mental health resources specialize in college student mental health. Some more popular services that they provide include individual therapy and specialized and unspecialized group therapy, as well as training and outreach opportunities. To access CCS, students can go online to reserve a 15-minute phone consultation. From this conversation, CCS can determine whether students are in the right place and set up a therapy appointment. Although CCS does tend to get busy, Magnus said that they will always be available for students in crisis. 

“There can be times where it’s hard to get students seen quickly, so we’ve changed some things to try to improve that,” Magnus said. “We’re available, and even though we’re very busy … if you’re really struggling, don’t let that be a barrier.” 


For those who are struggling or know others who are struggling, there are crisis lines available via phone or text. 

National Suicide Hotline: 988 

Local Crisis Hotline: (317) 251-7575 

Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741 

Trevor Project Lifeline: (866) 488-7386 | TrevorText: text START to 678-678 

Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 | Text: 838255


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