Every year, 44,193 Americans die by suicide, thus 121 per day according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. With the rates of suicide in the US at an all-time high it is now the tenth leading cause of death in America. It is an issue that everyone has had experience with in some way, shape, or form.
With the deaths of Chester Bennington from the band Linkin Park and Chris Cornell from the band Audioslave earlier this year, the spotlight of the media has turned the world’s eyes to the topic of suicide and has brought together a public discussion of the once taboo issue. Logic, at the VMA’s performed his hit single, off his Everybody album, 1-800-273-8255, with the song title being the Suicide Hotline phone number, he was joined onstage by Khalid, Alessia Cara, and survivors of suicide, wearing shirts that had the hotline number on them.
The performance was critically acclaimed and encouraged people to call if they were dealing with suicidal thoughts. The National Suicide Hotline reported that following the performance, the calls spiked 50 percent.
One of the most significant at-risk demographic is college-aged adults in the 15-24 bracket, the rate has tripled since 1950 and has claimed the most lives to the point that it is now cited as the 2nd most common death among college students, according to the American College Health Association.
Chabot has many resources nearby and on campus to educate and assist those in need, with many services offered for free for low-income students. The Suicide Prevention Month event at Chabot saw the various resources by different organizations in the Tri-City area available to students.
“We offer counseling services for free to low-income students to make it more accessible,” says Alfredo Alvarado, community outreach worker at Tbruicio Vasquez Health Center. The Tbruicio Health Center is one of the many organizations offering assistance to students in a time of need, offering services such as counseling, home visits for intervention, workshops in dealing with self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. As well as providing assistance to Latino families.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) was also present. Gordon Doughty, a board member of the AFSP, states, “There’s always this negative stigma that everyone’s freely able to talk about the body from the neck and down, but when it comes to the neck, and above, we tend to ignore it.” The AFSP does not provide actual hotline assistance, though as Gordon says, “Our Job is to remove that stigma, and to inform and educate students and teachers everywhere.”
The Health Center at Chabot also provides resources in the form of hotlines to crisis and counseling services all over the bay area. The statistics can be alarming to take in, and while it seems that it may be something out of one’s reach to prevent suicide, the best anyone can do is to spread awareness of the issue.