Why Suicide Prevention Is Absolutely Necessary

On November 6, the ALIVE! mental health fair stopped by Gustavus. The event was packed with prizes, frost-your-owns, a documentary, and a keynote speaker. I was over the moon to hear that Gustavus was taking action towards suicide prevention, as I feel it is one of the biggest and most overlooked issues of our time. In fact, my passion for suicide prevention is what is driving me to complete college and become a school counselor.

My journey into mental health education started in eleventh grade. At my high school, junior year is notorious for being the worst of it: the hardest classes, the biggest workload, and the most stress all come along with the package. It was that year that myself and many of my peers started getting really stressed, more than was healthy. I felt perpetually overwhelmed, and I know a lot of other people did, too.

Then my senior year started, and on top of really intense college-level classes, there was also the stress of applying to schools and figuring out what to do with the rest of our lives. For some people, it truly was too much pressure. I know there were people seriously considering suicide as a way to escape the intensity of high school. As a school set in one of the highest suicide rate regions in Minnesota, I was truly grateful that all of my classmates were able to graduate together.

Now that I am in college, I've noticed the pressure has gone down a little but there's still a lot of work to do. Pressure from parents to choose a "practical" major takes a deep toll on people, and can haunt their mental wellbeing. I know there are students who see suicide as an ultimate way-out to these temporary decisions, and I feel compelled to do something about it.

Suicidal thoughts and actions in teens is a major issue today, and the ALIVE! mental health fair is a great step towards educating others and assisting those who are struggling to find help. Here at Gustavus, we have a great counseling center to help students sort out what they are feeling and make rational and safe decisions to solve their problems. We also have the Peer Assistants, who strive to help everyone live a healthy lifestyle. Finally, we have access to LearnToLive, an online resource for those who may be too afraid to seek help in person.

The most important thing to do is continue educating people about mental health and eradicating the stigma that surrounds it. Needing help is nothing to be afraid of, and suicide is never the best option. If we all take care of each other and start taking steps towards better mental health, we can build a zero-suicide future.