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September is Suicide Awareness Month
Let’s face it, we’ve all had moments in our lives when we have felt sadness, anxiety, anger and fear. In the years that I have been working on college campuses I have interacted with students who have felt hopelessness and despair so paralyzing they did not want to go on living, students who had experienced severe traumas that keep replaying in their minds and kept them distracted from their studies, students who were having their first psychotic episode and were terrified by what was happening to them, and students who have struggled with alcohol and drug use so pervasive they’d lost everything.
Many students struggle everyday with loneliness, anxiety, depression and feeling overwhelmed by life. I feel compassion for these students, because I myself manage anxiety every day, some days it is so strong I have to remind myself to breathe. According to NAMI 1 in 5 adults experiences mental illness each year. I want to convey to any of our students, faculty and staff who feel like they are on an emotional roller coaster, that you are not alone. I also want you to know, that as a community we are here to help each other, support each other, care for each other and work together to end the stigma around mental health and to improve the well-being of our campus.
If you are struggling to manage your emotional well-being it is ok to ask for help! You can start by creating a profile on YOU@CUDENVER. This amazing tool allows you to explore articles, TED Talks, take quizzes, and discover other resources related to well-being, including extensive information about anxiety, depression and substance use.
You can also engage in any of the programs at the Student and Community Counseling Center.. They offer support groups, individual counseling, prevention programming and the Let’s Talk series.
Did you know physical activity reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety and that yoga can help trauma survivors? Visit Wellness & Recreation Services in person or virtually and get your body moving.
Want to help others?
Start by completing our free, on-line You Can Help a Friend course. It only takes 30-45 minutes to complete and it will provide you with the skills you need to support a friend.
Want something more intensive? Request a Lynx Connected suicide prevention training. This training is for students, faculty and staff.
Interested in getting certified? CU Denver offers Mental Health Firs Aid certification courses. Not only does this course equip you to respond to individuals in need, you can boost your resume with an earned certificate!
Get involved! Join our student lead Active Minds Chapter and help end the stigma around mental health.
For more information visit our Health & Wellness website or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kristin D. Kushmider, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Health, Wellness, Advocacy & Support