UCF CAPS Hosted a Memorial for College Students Lost to Suicide: Here’s How to Get Help If You Need It
The UCF CAPS Field of Memories might have come down already, but students can still leave messages of hope online for classmates struggling with their mental health.
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The memorial on Ferrell Commons was made up of 1,100 flags, one for each college student who dies by suicide every year.
Dr. Karen Hofmann is a psychologist with UCF Counseling and Psychological Services. She says the flags and the online exhibit are a reminder for students to check in on their own and others mental health.
Hofmann says it begins by asking someone whose behavior has changed if they’re feeling depressed, anxious or even suicidal.
“Its a relief to be able to have somebody ask. And a lot of times that is all that people are needing is just the safe space, the safe person to have a conversation to say, ‘I’m not alright. I may need some help.’ And you can be that bystander that can help a friend or family member.”
Hofmann says students can always use the telehealth option to get mental health help through her office virtually or come in person if they’re on campus.
She says the combination of the pandemic and protests over the death of George Floyd have increased the risk for mental health disorders.
“So just a lot of stress that even people who may not have been struggling before during this time because of the disconnection and the isolation can be struggling with mental health issues.”
If you or someone you know is suicidal call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as warning signs of suicidal behavior:
- Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
- Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
- Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
- Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
- Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
- Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
- Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
- Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there’s no other logical explanation for doing this
- Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
- Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above
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