CSU programs work to offer resources for suicide prevention

Audrey Weiss

health center/counseling services
The counseling services are offered at the Health and Medical Center of Colorado State University located on the third floor.(By:Mackenzie Boltz | Collegian)

According to a study taken by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death. Colorado State University is working to tackle this issue by setting up a variety of services for any community member seeking help.

Dell Rae Ciaravola, public safety and risk communications manager and CSU Police Department Public Information Officer, wrote in a statement to The Collegian that the University police and housing staff are trained to provide help based on what a situation may require.

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“The University has the Tell Someone program that we hope people use, and people do use every week,” Ciaravola wrote.

Dwight Burke, director of support and safety assessment and Title IX coordinator, said that the Tell Someone program was established to engage the community in keeping an eye out for one another. Depending on the case, when someone is recommended or recommends themselves, Burke’s department determines the correct procedures in which to provide help and services to an individual.

“We consider suicide prevention as part of the broader public health, (in order to) get in front of it as much as we can,” Burke said. “The more resources you put in early interventions, the more you’re going to prevent later down the road.”

The office provides anything from early intervention and prevention work, to crisis and imminent intervention work. The Tell Someone program is one of many ways they acquire information. In addition, they receive information from other offices working as a network to help those struggling with mental health.

It’s a tough subject to talk about, (but) we’re in a good position to talk about it because of the work that has been done,” -Dwight Burke, Director of Support and Safety Assessment and Title IX Coordinator

Manager of Mental Health Initiatives Janelle Patrias suggested students also look into Active Minds, a student organization working towards destigmatizing mental health. 

“Our mission is to raise awareness among our peers about suicide and mental health, as well as promote help-seeking behavior,” according to the organization’s mission statement. “We want to create a community that is not only supportive but conscious of depressive, self-destructive or suicidal behavior.”

Patrias wrote in a statement to The Collegian that she focuses on suicide prevention, promoting mental health outreach, coping and skill building and access to quality treatment, among other things.

“There are many layers to strong suicide prevention to promote early identification, support and treatment for individuals experiencing mental health distress,” Patrias said.

One of the ways in which the University tackles these is by training students, staff and faculty on identifying and referring these individuals.

Notice and Respond is one of the training modules available for University employees. Patrias said that over 6,700 students, staff and faculty have participated in this program in the past five years.

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CSU also works to support the community through suicide postvention, which is how a community grieves and processes after a suicide loss.

“Postvention efforts are thoughtfully planned and delivered by a large group of key campus stakeholders to ensure that survivors of suicide loss are supported,” Patrias said.

The University has been adding services and divvying up the budget to include and support these services since their establishment. Burke said he felt pride in the University administration having been able to recognize the need for these services. 

“It’s a tough subject to talk about, (but) we’re in a good position to talk about it because of the work that has been done,” Burke said.

If you or someone you know is struggling, there are a number of services that may help, including the Tell Someone program and CSU Health Network Counseling Services.

Audrey Weiss can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Audkward.