By Lorena Grajales, News Editor–
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is hosting several virtual events for students to get involved in prevention programs, have conversations and become more aware of the subject.
According to a Health Minds Survey in 2019, 78 percent of UTC students anonymously reported to have their academic performance hurt my mental or emotional difficulties. Now, UTC is striving to make of campus a welcoming and embracingenvironment for all.
During the entire month of September, UTC is dedicated to remember and honor the lives lost to suicide, while continuing to raise awareness on campus. Displays and yard signs are placed throughout campus, and CARE packages were sent to faculty and staff to review resources and information.
Director of the Center for Student Wellbeing, Tricia Henderson, shared the importance of speaking out and increasing consciousness on the topic.
“There’s a stigma around suicide and mental health…we really need to kind of break down those barriers because what we know is the more people talk about it, the more lives we can save,” she said.
On Wednesday, Sept. 10 students showed their support by wearing the color purple, and are now encouraged to participate in virtual prevention training events. These training sessions include topics such as mental health, empowerment and making connections with someone who needs help. On Sept. 29, the Center for Student Wellbeing will host the “Lighting the Way to Hope” event, a visual way to spread hope.
One thing that’s new this semester is the UTC Careline 24/7, where students can have access to resources on and off campus and a counselor on call at any time, in case of a mental health emergency. Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Dr. Yancy Freeman explained how these resources are beneficial to students.
“We are seeing more cases of depression in our students for various reasons…the goal is to provide resources to students who are experiencing suicide ideologies or depression,” he said.
Other resources available to students that are seeking help, include the option to report anonymously, Student Outreach and Support and the confidentiality within the counseling center. Henderson stressed the importance of speaking out, and the school’s mission for students on and off campus.
“We want students to know that as departments and as a university, that we care and we’re listening and we want to be there to help students thrive and succeed,” she said.
For more information, please visit https://www.utc.edu/counseling-center/studentresources.php or to access Careline 24/7, dial 423-425-CARE (2273).