The Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service held a suicide-prevention event Wednesday night aimed at opening a discussion about suicide and reminding attendees about resources Ohio State has.
“This is an opportunity to learn about the resources on campus and how they impact everyone,” said Micky Sharma, director of CCS. “This is about how we can support everyone together.”
A portion of the discussion was dedicated to the perception of suicide and mental health.
“We need to get rid of the archaic stigma around it,” said Darcy Granello, a professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology. “We have to make a supportive campus.”
When the discussion was opened to a Q-and-A session, attendees asked about the warning signs of people who are at risk of suicide.
“These signs do not come out of nowhere,” Granello said. “It’s different for how they leave their message, whether that be through Facebook, or a note. Things to look for include isolation, withdrawal (from social activities) and missing classes.”
Granello reminded the attendees that they do not need to have a background in psychology to help someone in need.
“We want to educate people to make campus as safe as possible and teach students about the warning and risk signs as nonmedical professionals,” Granello said.
Matt Fullen, a doctoral candidate in counselor education and a suicide and prevention manager with the College of Education and Human Ecology, spoke about how sometimes the conversation about prevention does not take place when it should.
“We spend a lot of time meeting the immediate needs after suicide happens,” Fullen said. “Sometimes spending time to prevent this is lost.”
Granello also provided advice for those who said they didn’t know what to say to someone who is showing suicidal tendencies.
“Anything you say that comes from a place of compassion is going to make it better,” Granello said.
Often, those who engage in a dialogue with someone who is showing signs of suicide could see their questions as prying, but Sharma says it’s quite the opposite.
“You should shift your thought and think of it as expressing care,” Sharma said. “You’re expressing concern, and that’s a good thing.”
Sharma said people grieve for different lengths of time and experience different emotions, but should feel open to talk to a counselor at CCS.
“If they don’t want to talk right now, we make sure they have the resources for when they do,” Sharma said.
Granello said she wants people to know that counseling works, and people should not give up if they do not find a perfect fit with a counselor.
“Counseling works for mental health, and we don’t do a good job advertising that,” Granello said. “Finding the right counselor is like finding the right pair of shoes, you don’t always wear the first ones out that you tried on.”