The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR students, faculty learn hard truth about suicide

By Jessy Diamba/reporter

About 1.5 times as many people die by suicide than by homicide in the United States, a TR counselor told students and faculty April 9.

In Ask About Suicide: To Save A Life, Mandy Melton gave attendees a look at how widespread and devastating the taboo topic of suicide is in American culture.

“You don’t have to be a counselor to ask a question,” she said. “You can reach others, too.”

Melton gave a variety of facts on the matter.

“Ninety percent of individuals mention directly or indirectly about their suicidal ideation weeks before their attempt,” she said. “It’s the second-leading cause of death among adults ages 25-34, and third-leading among teens ages 15-24,” she said. “Suicide is highest among Latina female teens but highest overall in white males for both teens and adults. From a public health perspective, suicide is considered one of the most preventable deaths in America.”

Melton then discussed risk factors, some known and some new.

“There are many social and cultural risk factors, including the better known ones of hopelessness, bullying and/or an abusive or traumatic past. Suicide is also present in groups like obese Americans, the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community, the armed forces, and gifted and talented students throughout the country — the latter just recently discovered.

Melton said environmental situations such as losing jobs or relationships are risk factors.

“Across all ages, however, more men die by suicide than women as in a majority of cases, they have better access to lethal weapons, like a gun,” she said. “There’s also the added stigma in seeking help.”

Protective factors can act as safety lines, Melton said, and include good clinical care, access to clinical interventions, restricted access to lethal means, connections to family and community support and cultural and religious beliefs.

“The most important protective factor is to develop skills in problem-solving and conflict resolution for when you’re at your darkest hour,” she said. “When someone’s in the suicidal zone, risk factors go high, and protective factors go low. Look for signs, and trust your instincts. Warning signs can be communicated verbally or nonverbally.”

The best way to help someone in need is to ask them how they’re feeling, Melton said. Asking will make someone feel heard and listened to and could make a huge difference, she said.

“If you feel able to ask them about suicide you can do so directly or indirectly,” she said. “Find a private area, make a connection and seek signs if that person is in need of professional help.”

If someone does not comfortable asking, but senses something wrong, Melton said that person should find someone who can.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK, and TCC Police can be reached at 817-515-8911.

“TCC counseling services are present on each campus with our location at T1 here at Trinity River,” she said.

Counseling offices are open fall and spring semesters 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Fridays and for limited services 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Students can check with the centers for summer hours.

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