By Joyana Richer
Suicide prevention is a top priority for the Student Health Center, and Texas State University helped raise awareness in an event called “A Walk Towards Hope.”
Students, families, and faculty took a walk around the rec center tracks during this event called “A Walk Towards Hope” March 31. It was hosted by the Student Health Center, with many of their faculty and staff there to give more information on preventing college suicide. In addition, tables from different student organizations were set up with fun games, crafts, and treats along with more helpful information. Aside from walking in solitude along the tracks, a guest speaker for NAMI, Austin National Alliance on Mental Illness, spoke with a moment of silence that followed. Lastly, an appearance from a student a capella group with Texas State University set the mood with some cover songs for the crowds to enjoy.
Signs all along the rec center’s tracks gave facts and important information in relation to suicides, ranging anywhere from statistics to solutions for suicidal cases. One shocking statistic is that nearly one million people worldwide will lose their life to suicide this year, and that annual deaths from suicide outnumber those from murder and war combined.
Psychologist and counselor Dr. Heather Aidala said it is a great way to spread awareness with a lot of fun activities, music, free food, prizes and walking.
Not only was there free food and raffle prizes, but important resources for students and families alike to access for helping mental illnesses. One resource in particular was an online therapist program called TAO, or Therapist Assistance Online. This program allows the person to receive help with the privacy of using their own computer or mobile device at the time convenient for them. It is accessible 24/7 and has videos and skill-building exercises to address anything from anxiety to depression.
Another resource promoted during this event was “Minds Matter.” Dr. Aidala said it is a “one stop website developed by a team of employees both part of the division of student affairs as well as the academic affairs side to create an easily accessible website for the Texas State community to find resources that holistically support mental health and wellness.”
She said it has sections for students to get help as well as employees and it directs them to resources that are appropriate for the role they have at Texas State.
Texas State University’s “A Walk Towards Hope” helps promote enlightenment on these issues and encourages people to take a step in the right direction. If you need assistance or know of someone who does, visit the counseling center or try out some of the new programs like TAO. If you are interested in learning more about events like “A Walk Towards Hope” visit the counseling Facebook page.
Featured image by Joyana Richer.