:: Suicide warning signs and how to get help
Suicide is a growing problem in the United States, especially on college campuses. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than all other medical illnesses combined.

In an average year, roughly 1,100 college students commit suicide, and most of them have not recieved professional mental health treatment at the time of their death.

Suicide can be prevented. Many people thinking about suicide show outward warning signs such as sudden change in eating and sleeping habits, extreme personality change and giving away posessions.

These signs, however, are often misunderstood. Less than one in five college students receive suicide prevention

information.

Elon provides a number of services for students, faculty and staff experiencing feelings of depression and possible suicidal thoughts.

There are five counselors at the R.N. Ellington Health and Counseling Center, two females and three males. The Center is open Monday through Friday. Counselors are on call 24/7, whenever dorms are open and classes are in session.

After hours, campus security can be called at any time at x5555, and an

emergency counselor can then be reached.

“We don’t seek clients,” said Annmarie Carter, a counselor at the R.N. Ellington Center. “If someone tells us we should talk to someone, we don’t make that call unless they are suicidal.”

The Web site for the Health Center offers links to virtual pamphlets through the University of Chicago. The site may be found at Elon’s Web site, under Student Life, followed by Counseling Services.

“We encourage students to call and make an appointment,” Carter said. “Call [the counseling center at] x7280 and ask. You can choose male or female, but if it’s urgent, you’ll just get who’s available. We do what we can to see people in a timely fashion. If you’re unsure, just call and ask and let us weigh in an opinion.”

The option for spiritual help is available as well. Students can contact x7729 for the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. They can speak with the chaplain, assistant chaplain or Father Gerry Waterman with Catholic Campus Ministries.

Bruce Nelson, director of counseling, encourages students to also use all of the natural support systems, such as friends and family, if they need someone to talk to.

“The counseling center is one resource among many,” Nelson said.

Concerning the recent death of student James Michael “Mike” Foreman, Renee Summers at the Truitt Center said that there are no formal meetings scheduled, but that counselors are available and students, faculty and staff members are encouraged to use the counseling center’s resources if necessary.

Reporter: Emily Silva - 04/19/07