Students were informed about the warning signs of suicide and were encouraged to speak up and help others at the TitanWell Hut Suicide Prevention workshop series.
The two-week long series started on March 4, and was hosted from Monday to Wednesday on campus.
“Suicide is something we should be talking about because it does happen and because we can help each other in general,” said Ashleigh Carey, TitanWell Hut Leader and a kinesiology major.
For Stephanie Pocci, an attendee, the event was personal to her, as her best friend committed suicide.
“I remember even at their funeral on their note that they left for us, she said that she felt like she didn’t have anyone else and that no one really loved her. But at the funeral, there weren’t enough chairs for everyone to sit in, like that’s how many people cared for her,” Pocci said.
Pocci did not initially plan to attend the workshop. As she was walking by, she heard Carey discuss how prevalent and persistent suicidal thoughts are and stayed.
“I thought that was important, so I just stopped and listened, and I was really shocked when she said the statistic that 12.5 percent of students here have serious suicidal thoughts. I was like, ‘Oh, this is actually really real,’” Pocci said.
The program recognizes the importance of this issue and aims to create a comfortable environment where students can discuss suicide and spread awareness of the resources available, said Stephanie Cano, a student volunteer with the TitanWell Hut.
Students may feel that suicide is something they should be embarrassed of or try to deal with themselves, according to Carey.
“The reason we are talking about this is because we are trying to break the stigma of suicide,” Carey said.
On a national level, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, according to the Jed Foundation.
Signs for suicidal thoughts include substance abuse, sudden mood changes, social withdrawal, feeling hopeless or trapped and contemplating or wanting to die, according to materials provided by the workshop.
Advice TitanWell workers offered for loved ones battling suicidal thoughts are to listen to them, engage in their conversation and give empathetic feedback.
“At CSUF, 12.5 percent of our campus population here has actually considered suicide over the past two years,” Carey said.
One way the program suggests to prevent thoughts of suicide among students is through the interactive portion of the workshop called, “Take what you need; give what you can,” a pass and take of positive affirmations. The idea is that students take any note that resonated with them, and return one in advance.
Leyla Emrani, an English major, said she was drawn to the workshop when she saw a note that said, “Everyone is in this together, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
“I think that’s a really nice message, like a really nice thing to say that we are all in it together. Like you if you are scared, if you are alone, just ask somebody for help; we’re not all that different,” Emrani said.
Emrani, who has used the free campus resource, learned more about it at the workshop.
“I knew about CAPS because I have used it myself in the past and I found it to be a really helpful resource. I didn’t know you get 10 sessions, I thought it was eight, so that was something I didn’t know before,” Emrani said.
Sam El Mustapha, a kinesiology major, wrote a note that says “Find Peace within yourself,” and said his inspiration for the note came from his Tai chi class.
El Mustapha said suicide is closer than most people think. He said his girlfriend went through suicidal thoughts a few years ago, but has since recovered and helped save one friend from committing suicide.
Once students participated in the workshop, they were able to receive pins or tattoos, designed by students.
One of the pins read “Warr;or” with a semicolon to represent Project Semicolon, an international organization that helps reduce the incidents of suicide through providing resources and information. This serves as a reminder for students to be aware that they can get help, and that they are not alone.
The last day for TitanWell Hut Suicide Prevention workshops is Wednesday March 13. The first session is from 11-3 p.m. in front of the Student Wellness Center. The final session is from 4-8 p.m. in front of student housing.
For more information on suicide awareness and prevention and how you or loved ones can help, go to: https://www.fullerton.edu/caps/ or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255.