“Learning about students who have considered, attempted or committed suicide is just absolutely heartbreaking,” said an anonymous donor. That is why parents of a current University of Mississippi student want their financial support to help the university continue to prevent suicide by expanding awareness, outreach and programming.
“What drives someone to that point is very complicated. I believe the university is doing an admirable job dealing with student mental health issues but I think suicide awareness, education and prevention is a whole new ballgame that could benefit from dedicated resources.”
American College Health Association data indicates more than 50 percent of college students have had suicidal thoughts at some point, and most don’t talk about it or seek professional help. Additionally, 10.3 percent of college students have seriously considered suicide within the last 12 months.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students — a tragedy Bud Edwards, director of the University Counseling Center, hopes UM never has to face again.
“If I’m going to dream, why not dream big?” asks Edwards, adding that he understands students nationwide face levels of anxiety and stress that can lead to suicidal thoughts, which is why the university will always make its students’ mental wellness a priority.
“The generous support from donors like these concerned parents goes a long way toward helping us provide outreach and assistance for students in need and hopefully prevent suicide among members of our Ole Miss community.”
The donors’ gift will be used to provide suicide prevention training to the UM community, develop campus partnerships so outreach can be made to high-risk groups and offer public service announcements to increase awareness and resources. In addition, the gift will support a University Counseling Center event this fall, featuring a speaker who will discuss mental health and suicide.
“Our hope is that this gift will make it well known among all students, especially those suffering with thoughts of suicide, exactly how to go about getting the help they need,” the donor said.
For more information about how to support suicide prevention and education efforts, contact Brett Barefoot, director of development for parents and family leadership, at 662-915-2711 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To give online visit https://give.olemiss.edu.
To contact the University Counseling Center, call 662-915-3784 or email email@example.com.
By Brett Barefoot