UTC’s Center for Student Wellbeing, Counseling Center, and Center for Student Engagement will host several events throughout September to promote suicide awareness and provide resources for students. 

Megan McKnight, the Director of Student Wellbeing, said discussions about suicide have always been important, but they are important now more than ever. 

“In the U.S, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-age students,” said McKnight. “We also know, during the pandemic, the CDC found 18- to 24-year-olds increased their suicidal thoughts. About 1 in 4 young adults seriously considered suicide within the last 30 days when the CDC evaluated it back in 2020.” 

McKnight said the Center for Student Wellbeing’s events are valuable to students because it normalizes conversations about mental health and suicide. 

“A lot of people struggle with mental health in college,” McKnight said. “This creates a way for students and their peers to come together and acknowledge that.” 

Two Suicide Prevention events took place last week. 

UTC Takes on National Suicide Prevention Month

Students sit in a circle to discuss how to respond to individuals with suicidal ideations. Megan McKnight, the director of the Center for Wellbeing, spoke about how to know when to speak, what to do when people don’t want to talk and much more on navigating these difficult issues. Thursday, September 9, 2021.(Photo by Oliver Lampley)

 

On Thursday, Sept. 9, students participated in “Step up for Mental Health,” where participants learned how to identify signs of stress in peers and how to direct them to appropriate resources on campus and in the community. On Friday, Sept. 10, students wore purple to show their support for World Suicide Prevention Day. 

Their next event is a roller-skating night on Wednesday, Sept. 15 with Moonlight Roller. A number of mental health tables and resources will be at the event as well. 

Two training sessions will be held for faculty and staff to learn more about prevention policy and procedures. In doing so, they will be trained using the Columbia Scale to help assess suicide risks in students.

Students also benefit from Suicide Prevention events by getting access to multiple support systems. There is a 24/7 hotline at 423-425-CARE that will send students to a crisis center after business hours. McKnight said during business hours, Monday through Friday, that number will call the counseling center for more resources such as the UTC Police. 

For more information on Suicide Prevention Month at UTC visit here.

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