This archived article was written by: Rodrigo Leon
Providing students with the tools and information on how to prevent suicide was the goal of USU Eastern’s Residence Life on Nov. 17. The night kicked off with Heath Earl, professor of psychology at USUE, explaining suicide statistics, and how suicidal thoughts manifest from an assortment of events.
Earl explained how suicidal thoughts can happen to anyone because anyone can feel hopeless. He named many risk factors, how to identify them and how to properly address them. Risk factors include: substance abuse, talking about death, feelings of hopelessness, giving away of personal possessions, making amends, saying goodbyes and sudden feelings of happiness. He also covered how women are more likely to attempt suicide and suffer from depression.
Earl proceeded to explain how to handle a situation in which you or another person is experiencing suicidal thoughts. One must first stay with the person and contact an expert (or someone who can get the appropriate help), try to get them through the day, these thoughts don’t last long, be supportive and empathetic, try to get them to therapy. He capped his presentation by making sure to most importantly, “Be Aware.”
Carter and Wendy Grant, parents whose eldest child and USU Eastern student committed suicide, gave a more personal narrative on suicide and prevention. They explained how their family coped with the loss. This included how a simple, “I love you” goes a long way. They followed by explaining their experience on the warning signs and prevention. This included: never ignore a warning sign, listen carefully to what they have to say, take it very seriously, learn the resources available to you and, if the worst happens, be aware of others who might become suicidal while trying to cope.
Carter explained the most important thing to remember is to listen and empathize, and don’t try to fix their problems.
The night ended with a musical performance from local duo, JB and Chris. JB struggled with drugs and depression, but used music to get clean and cope with the depressive thoughts. They opened with “Drive” by Incubus which Chris explained was their friend’s, Scott Donaldson’s, favorite song. They chose it because Donaldson committed suicide and they thought the song would have a positive message. They finished with “Counting Stars” by One Republic and “Remedy” by Jason Mraz.
This an informational night, hearing Carter speak about his family’s struggle, plus JB’s struggle with suicidal thoughts and his insight on how music turned his life around.