This archived article was written by: Nikkita Blain
From one H.E.A.R.T. to another
“Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
Suicide is a tragedy that has become more common. According to suicidology.org, the number of suicides in the nation rose from 39,518 people in 2011 to 41,449 people in 2013. The question is, why have the numbers become so high and what can be done to help lower them?
Jan Thornton, assistant professor in the sociology, social work, and anthropology department, had this to say about those at risk for suicide: “I think we do a really great job of educating people of the early warning signs of suicidal ideation.”
“But, there’s a really big shift that happens when somebody goes from thinking about it to committing to it. And I don’t think we do as good of a job at educating people what that looks like.”
This is one main reason that Madison Woodward decided to become a driving force behind “H.E.A.R.T.”
“I had known in high school and throughout college a lot of people that were dealing with depression” Woodward shares, “then I had two friends last year… (that) ended their life early due to mental illness… I saw what happened on the campus, and how it affected everyone, and I just thought if there was one way we could help… at least one person not to feel alone… it would change everything.”
“H.E.A.R.T.” is an acronym for “Helping Everyone at Risk Together.” Woodward says, “It’s not just for people that are dealing with mental illness or are feeling alone. It’s for everyone.”
Oft times, when a person is thinking about ending their life, what they want is not actually to put an end to their existence, but an end to their pain. They need to see one crucial thing; and that thing is hope.
There are multiple resources on campus to help them find that hope, such as the counseling department, which provides free visits to students who need someone to talk to.
“H.E.A.R.T.” provides opportunities for people who want to make a difference. Woodward adds, “When you realize ‘Oh my goodness, I am not alone!’ There are people that feel exactly what I feel… there are people that understand what I feel, it makes (all) the difference in the world.”