A suicide prevention organization delivered an eloquent message on the College of the Canyons campus Thursday – without a single word necessary.
“You’re not alone,” the National Active Minds Office told any student walking across campus with thoughts of suicide on his or her mind.
The group said it with 1,100 backpacks scattered across the Valencia campus Honor Grove – one for each college student who dies by suicide each year.
Last year three of them were COC students.
College can be a time of isolation as old friends pursue new lives; a time of despair as real-life setbacks hit young adults without the cushion of dependency on parents; a time of stress as majors have to be selected, student loans undertaken, final exams passed – and sometimes the full brunt of love’s rejection felt for the first time.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center reports suicide is a leading cause of death among college and university students in the United States. Some statistics indicate it’s the second most common cause of death in that age group.
Yet, according to the nonprofit suicide.org, while one in five college students believe their depression levels are higher than it should be, only 6 percent say they would seek help for depression.
That’s where student groups and others at College of the Canyons have come in. The Active Mind Club and the Student Health and Wellness Center hosted the “Send Silence Packing” display of backpacks to illustrate the losses of young lives due to suicide. Volunteer student counselors stand ready to follow through.
We commend them all for their efforts. Let the silence be shattered and the conversations begin – because none of us walks alone.