In Colorado, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-24, according to the Alliance for Suicide Prevention in Larimer County.
The Associated Students of Colorado State University hosted a panel Monday to discuss how to open the dialogue to suicidal thoughts and awareness.
Panelists included Jason Sydoriak, a Marine Corps veteran and a student at Colorado State University, Janelle Patrias, the coordinator of mental health initiatives at CSU’s Health Network, Marisa Martinez and Andrew Wilmot, both from the Alliance for Suicide Prevention in Larimer County.
Topics for discussion included the negative stigma that surrounds talking about suicide and and how to get help either personally or for a friend.
“Getting help shows vulnerability,” Sydoriak said.
According to the panelists, the culture surrounding discussing suicide, including a perception that talking about it is inappropriate, has closed doors for those in need of help. These restrictions exist especially for men, but for women as well.
“It’s one if the most reaching stigmas of our society,” Patrias said.
According to Wilmot, when considering mental health, it is important to consider all other arenas of health because helping someone with mental health problems includes physical, social, as well as mental solutions.
“If we’re going to talk about health, let’s talk about total wellness,” Wilmot said.
Wilmot and the panelists said creating a safe, understanding place for conversations about suicide is the first place to start in helping to prevent suicide.
“The only way to prevent it on a large scale is to have a conversation about it. It is hugely important,” Wilmot said.
Panelists also discussed the language that is commonly used when talking about suicide like “failed,” and “committed,” and how these terms should be changed to accompany a more understanding environment.
“Be conscious about how you speak to people,” Sydoriak said. “How are you supporting those around you?”
Collegian Staff Reporter Megan Fischer can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MegFischer04.