BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // SEPT. 9, 2016 //
Mental health and suicide can be difficult topics to discuss, but Curry College is making strides in opening the discussion and advocating prevention ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, each year, over 42,000 Americans die by suicide, making it the 10th leading killer in the US.
Because of these troubling statistics, various organizations are taking action to alter this trend. Faculty, staff and students alike at Curry College are joining the efforts to minimize the severity of this issue.
The Curry College Counseling Center, just past the basketball courts near the library, offers a variety of counseling services, including individual, couple and group. These services also include various outreach programs like First Year Seminar visits, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs, stress management, and more.
Alison Markson, the Director of the Counseling Center, is just one of the many staff members Curry College students can turn to in times of crisis. “Students come to us, sharing deeply personal stories and we talk with them about how their thoughts, feelings and behaviors may impact their overall stress levels, mood and quality of life.”
Markson added that the two most common reasons that students come to the Counseling Center involve anxiety and depression. “This is consistent with national trends at college and university based counseling centers, with anxiety ranking the number one concern.”
Students can also visit the Counseling Center for diverse reasons that include, but are not limited to, grief and loss, homesickness/adjustment to college and relationship or family issues. In addition, counselors will meet with students about mood changes, personal stressors such as finances or academics, as well as the impact(s) that trauma, drugs and alcohol may have on their lives.
“The important thing is that students discuss the issues that are important to them,” says Markson.
Out of all the advice Markson has for suicide prevention, she stressed the trust in your own instincts. “If you believe a friend is in distress, or you notice that they are exhibiting worrisome changes in behavior and/or mood, take it seriously.”
Markson recommends that if you are looking for pointers about how to approach your friend, consider talking with a counselor at the Counseling Center first. She also says that if you yourself are having a difficult time, please let someone know. A friend, an RA, a coach, a professor, advisor, etc. “There are many people out there who can help, and who care about your well-being.”
The Curry College Counseling Center is located in Smith House (up the hill from the basketball courts) and can be reached at 617-333-2182. You can contact the Counseling Center during business hours (8:30am-4:30pm, M-F). After hours, contact the Counselor on Call via Public Safety at 617-333-2222 or the CD on Duty. They also offer anonymous mental health online screenings at http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/CURRY
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or dial 911.