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Clemson hosts first annual Suicide Prevention Week 

Blake Mauro, Contributor

Students’ moods are uplifted as they play with the service dogs at Clemson’s day of encouragement.

This year, Clemson hosted its first annual suicide prevention week to shed light on the dark devastation of suicide. The Clemson community worked coherently as a unified force to educate its members on the indicators, prevalence and preventability of suicide. Clemson University hosted three main events in their proactive battle against suicide. 

On Monday, students and faculty had the opportunity to participate in the Tigers Together Advocacy Training, hosted by Delana Reynolds, the assistant director of Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Initiatives. The goal of advocacy training is to teach students how to develop their listening skills, communication skills and their ability to compassionately ask students about suicidal thoughts and facilitate their access to professional care. During her presentation, Reynolds educated participants on the importance of acknowledging suicide as a preventable epidemic amongst individuals their age and trained them how to recognize the warning signs and risk factors exhibited when a person is at an increased risk of suicide. 

On Tuesday night, Clemson held a candlelight vigil to honor and remember those who have tragically lost their lives to suicide. Students and staff came together in front of Sikes Hall and lit their candles to remember those they had lost. The stunning ceremony was accompanied by an emotional sermon given by Reynolds, which acknowledged the pain of loss but the beauty of coming together and working towards the extinction of suicide deaths. 

Clemson’s first annual Suicide Prevention week concluded on a bright and optimistic note with a day of encouragement filled with blue skies, sunshine and service dogs. Wednesday afternoon in Clemson’s Carillon Garden, students had the opportunity to learn about and become a part of numerous clubs and organizations that aim to better students’ mental health and serve as a community of support for those in need.

One example of such an important organization is Clemson University’s Active Minds club. Their founder, Amanda Hohenberger, sophomore management major, defined the organization’s goal as “to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and create a positive community and environment on campus and to be an extra resource here if they need it.” The day of encouragement was filled with smiling students, especially those who got the chance to play and interact with the three service dogs at the event.

Clemson University consistently strives to recognize the reality of mental health struggles amongst its students and provide them with accessible and necessary resources to aid them in recovery. 

Coordinator of consultation and outreach at the Department of Student Health Services, Crystal Cordes, acknowledges that “it is more than essential that universities recognize the severity and frequency of suicide among students; it is imperative. It is crucial to normalize talking about mental health and well-being.” 

After her presentation on Monday night, assistant director of Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Initiative, Delana Reynolds, defined the on-campus resources available for students to utilize at Clemson. 

“The first resources that are going to be available are student organizations. There are great clubs on campus like You’re Not Alone, Mindset, and Under the Umbrella, just to name a few. These organizations keep emerging because this is so important to students. Moving on, of course, there is the counseling and psychological services (CAPS). They take appointments and do anything along the step-care continuum, from online telemedicine to group counseling to one-on-one therapy. I would also say that your resources are anyone in an administrative role because faculty and staff want you to succeed. Individuals such as your academic adviser can be a resource, the person leading your tutoring session can be a resource. When you reach out to people when it feels safe to ask for help, people respond well. There are so many people out there that care about you and want to see you happy and healthy and well if you just reach out. 

Clemson students are proud to be a part of a community actively fighting the tragedy of suicide. Sophomore special education major Rachel Skroban feels it is “very important that Clemson is involved in combating suicide. It shows that Clemson cares and acknowledges the realness of the issue.” 

Likewise, sophomore parks & recreation tourism management major Savannah Mosley feels similarly about Clemson’s involvement when it comes to suicide prevention and awareness. She deems it “important that they are recognizing an issue that is not always talked about and giving students the ability to open up and get the help they need.”

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