Biedscheid: Be aware of National Suicide Prevention Month

Jenna Biedscheid

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Editor’s Note: The content of this column could be triggering for some audiences. Please use discretion.


September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and this year, it’s more important than ever. As we all know, 2020 has been a tough year.

Living under a pandemic and social unrest, we are all going through a lot more than usual. Collectively, and in our own ways, many of us are grieving the loss of our “old normal.” The turbulence of the world right now is bound to impact us all individually, one way or another. We need each other more than ever.

For college students, suicide is the second leading cause of death. One in five college students considered suicide in 2018. College students are at risk because of the tendency for college to present us with so many new expectations while being away from our usual support system. Suicides occur every four to five days in Larimer County, according to the Alliance for Suicide Prevention for Larimer County. These numbers are calling our community to action.

This month is a time for the Colorado State University community to unite and focus on raising awareness for suicide prevention, remembering warning signs to look for in others, sharing resources and stories and doing the work to prevent suicides.

What can we do for each other to prevent suicides?

First, let’s drop the suicide stigma. Stigma around the discussion of suicide can create a lack of suicide prevention education, which increases isolation of people at risk, decreases confidence of how to support someone in need and decreases awareness of available resources.

Engage in community building. Getting involved in the CSU and Fort Collins community promotes well-being and connection, which can be lacking amid the pandemic.

Doing the work to dismantle privilege and oppression is suicide prevention. This is a great way to show your fellow Rams that you care about their safety and well-being. Rams take care of Rams!

Most importantly, pay attention to risk factors and warning signs in case you or someone you know is at risk. 

Some major risk factors include prolonged stress, recent tragedy or loss, substance misuse or overuse and access to lethal means. Major warning signs are suicidal ideation (“Nothing matters” or “I don’t want to be here anymore”), withdrawal from friends, family and community, impulsive or reckless behavior, giving away possessions and intentions to access lethal methods. 

If you or someone you know displays any of these risk factors or warning signs, it is important to be prepared in case of crisis. Like a fire drill, it is good practice to run through what steps you would take in a situation of crisis. 


The #BeThe1To campaign offers a helpful list of five action steps to take when communicating with someone who may be suicidal:

  1. Ask – “Have you had thoughts of suicide/ending your life?” Don’t ever promise that you’ll keep their answer a secret. Listen to their response.
  2. Be there – This can mean being with the person physically. If this isn’t possible, it could mean talking on the phone with them and trying to discuss who would be the best person to have by their side and helping to get that person there.
  3. Keep them safe – Establish immediate safety by identifying specific suicide attempts or plans they may have. If they are in immediate danger, take extra steps to remove those dangers.
  4. Help them connect – Establish a safety net for the person moving forward by connecting them with the Colorado Crisis Line at 1-844-493-8255 (or Text “TALK” to 741-741). You can also have them download the MY3 app, which helps in safety planning and crisis intervention. CSU also has suicide prevention resources for students through the counseling center. 
  5. Follow up – Give them a call, or send a text to see how they’re doing. Let them know that you’re there and you care.

Whatever you may be feeling, you are not the only one. Remember to find balance and have ease with yourself and others. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. CSU and the Fort Collins community have tons of resources in place to support you, including five free counseling sessions per semester for students. Another great resource for finding an online therapist is Sondermind, a website that matches you to a therapist who fits you best.

Additional resources include The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. More helpful resources can be found at The Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County

Tell Someone at CSU is a great resource if you are concerned about someone who is at risk, but not in crisis. Even if you have doubts if someone may be at risk, always tell someone. You can also utilize this resource to report incidents that threaten your safety or the safety of others in any sort of way, including incidents of hateful bias and speech.

If reading this article triggered any sort of difficult emotions, please reach out to someone you trust. Rams take care of Rams.

Jenna Biedscheid can be reached at or on Twitter @JennaBiedscheid.