Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-24 in America, according to SAVE, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.
But if people – everyday, ordinary folks – step up and step in to help, it doesn’t have to be.
Dr. Greg Vander Wal, executive director of the counseling center, said Suicide Awareness Week is designed to bring attention to the issue of suicide and awareness to UA resources that help people better understand suicide prevention.
“Each day of the week, we are providing QPR, which is question, persuade and refer,” he said. “QPR is an hour-and-a-half training session that’s designed to help people feel more comfortable responding to someone in crisis. It’s like CPR training, but for mental health and people who might be experiencing suicidal thoughts.
“You’ll learn how to talk to a person who may be struggling, how to listen well and how to help them get to the help they need. Really, everyone on campus plays a role in suicide prevention, and this is a role they can play.”
QPR training will be held at different times and locations daily throughout the week. To register for QPR training, sign into myBama and go here.
Events for the week
On Monday of that week, “Bama Boot Camp,” which is about helping military-affiliated students overcome barriers, will be held at 120 Lloyd Hall from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, a free yoga class will be held at the Student Recreation Center from 7 to 8 p.m.
The Crossroads Community Engagement Center will host small group conversations called “Suicide Awareness and Prevention: A Focus on Hope and Resilience,” at the Ferguson Student Center Great Hall from 1 to 1:50 p.m. Wednesday.
That night, a screening of the film “Every Brilliant Thing” will be played at the Ferguson Center at 7.
“The movie is a one-man show in front of a live audience,” Vander Wal said. “He had people in his family who struggled with suicidal thoughts, and he created a list of things worth living for. It’s funny, it’s poignant, and it really focuses on hope and building resilience in the face of things like suicide.”
On Thursday, “Tide Protect Your Squad,” will be held in 132 Lloyd Hall from 6 to 7 p.m. The event will feature the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs and the counseling center leading a discussion on campus unity, signs of distress and ways to check on friends’ emotional well-being.
On Friday, a cookout at the Phi Delta Theta House from 4 to 7 p.m. will raise money for Tide Against Suicide. Cost is $5.
The week will culminate Sunday with the 10th annual Out of the Darkness Tuscaloosa Community Walk, hosted in collaboration with The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The walk starts at Ferguson Student Center Plaza at 2 p.m. Registration for the walk begins at 1 p.m.
“It’s a community walk, so, initially, there will be some speeches on the topic of suicide and suicide prevention,” Vander Wal said. “There’s a mental health resource fair at the plaza, and we will walk around the Quad a few times. It’s designed to raise awareness and funding for suicide awareness and prevention.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.