Suicide prevention only a text away

KReynaBy Karenna Reyna
Pulse Staff Reporter

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, according to the National Mental Health Association, with the number one cause being accidents related to vehicle and alcohol incidents.

Suicide rates have tripled among young adults since the 1950s with more than 1,000 suicides per year, according to www.collegedegreesearch.net.

Crisis Text Line works to prevent suicide from happening by providing free support. Anyone who is having suicidal thoughts, self harm, panic attacks, loneliness, anxiety, friendship problems or needs a listening ear is encouraged to text START or HELLO to 741-741.

Since starting with El Paso and Chicago in August 2013, CTL has helped more than 15 million people nationwide.

Crisis Text Line Volunteer and Psychology Major Theresa Reyes said that CTL was being used in every area code in the country within four months of its start.

“We are here to listen to and support anyone that is in crisis, or just need someone to listen to them,” said Reyes.

This is an anonymous, 24-hour service. A trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.

Volunteer crisis counselors are trained to help calm down the situation to ensure everything is safe. Counselors listen and work with the individual to create a plan for them to feel better.

“Counselors go through a rigorous 34-hour training and commit to four hours a week of volunteering for one year,” said Reyes.

The entire process is confidential. For AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon users, it is free of charge. Standard text message rates may apply for other carriers. The call will not show up on the billing statement.

Crisis Text Line’s goal is to diminish the crisis with active listening techniques, communicating in a way that is understanding, empathetic and respectful. The session focuses on the individual and their problem to guide them with thoughtful answers. Personalized conversations and feedback is guaranteed.

Crisis Text Line is a fast-growing, non-profit organization always looking for volunteers. For more information, visit www.crisistextline.org.

Palo Alto Counseling Services is also available for individual or group counseling to currently enrolled students. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Student Center, Room 100. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Rhonda O’Cana is PAC’s Licensed Professional Counselor.

“Sometimes just having a place to vent about problems can make a big difference,” said O’Cana.

Counselors are trained to help students find solutions and alternative paths through difficult situations.

“We also teach strategies for managing stress, depression and other psychological disorders, as well as offer referrals to outside resources on campus and in the community,” said O’Cana.

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to use PAC Counseling Services.

Sophomore History Major Elaine Arredondo said that this seems like a very helpful service.

“I would definitely take advantage of this when I need someone to talk to,” she said.

Look for presentations and workshops on health and wellness throughout campus.