The UT Counseling and Mental Health Center will start its annual “Suicide Prevention Week,” which seeks to raise awareness and advance conversations about mental health, on Tuesday.
Until Friday, CMHC will hold panel discussions and interactive workshops surrounding self-care, mental health in the media and how to help a friend in distress.
Kelsey Lammy, CMHC’s mental health promotion coordinator, said this year’s Suicide Prevention Week theme is community, and is intended to foster an environment in which students take care of each other, especially in the context of current events.
“This year we really try to be current and think about what are our needs of our students this year and what’s happening in the world that could impact our students,” Lammy said. “For example … I know Hurricane Harvey was really hard for a lot of people. How can we practice self-care when there’s really difficult times?”
Lammy said this week will also address the media’s influence on students’ mental health.
“In this past year, more and more, there have been Netflix shows and music that talks about mental health,” Lammy said. “We really try to talk (about) … how we can be critical consumers of the media.”
Journalism junior Alyssa Quiles said she is interested in the event because she knows how it feels to suffer from depression.
“High school was a pretty dark time for me,” Quiles said in an email. “I made it a personal mission to help others realize that there is always hope in anyway I can … No one should ever have to feel so alone or so lost to where they think suicide is an answer.”
Biochemistry junior Alice Kanitz said she plans to come to at least one of the events because of her interest in becoming a psychiatrist. Kanitz said events like these are very important in a community of college students, especially considering the level of stress they are under.
“I think we need to reduce the stigma there is around certain mental illnesses,” Kanitz said. “People have resources like CMHC but they don’t go because they are afraid of the stigma that it will bring, and it’s important to dispel that.”