According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 44,965 Americans die every year from suicide. The most common method of suicide was by the use of firearms.
And of those 44,965 people, suicide is, “The 2nd leading cause of death among college age students which is frightening,” said Brenda McEachern, a counselor at Keene State College.
With that statistic being so high, there are several resources available to students who are feeling suicidal, depressed, or simply needing to talk someone.
On campus, the counseling center available to any students who may need help. “We encourage students to use these resources that are available, if someone is in crisis and they don’t have an appointment and they’re struggling, just come on up,” McEachern said.
In addition to this, there is also a crisis hotline students can call, which McEachern said there is a, “licensed clinical mental health counselor” available to students 24/7.
Another resource for students on campus is The Active Minds Club, which raises awareness of mental health issues and resources that are available on campus.
As for off campus, the President of The Active Minds Club Jessica Caldwell said there is the Monadnock Area Peer Agency Support, which is a consumer run organization right here in Keene where.
“You’re basically talking with people who are going through the same stuff as you do,” and that those people may not necessarily be doctors or colleagues,” said Caldwell.
McEachern also said another resource for students off campus is the, “Samaritans in town which are always available to students on and off campus.”
Lecturer in Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Nicole Wengerd said that suicide is a social problem.
“It affects a large number of people in our society,” said Wengerd.
With any social problem, becoming educated about the topic can be helpful, “By understanding the facts and the reality around you, [it] gives you perspective and allows us to engage in solutions in a different way,” Wengerd said.
Education can be especially important for those, “…who feel sad and depressed and don’t know why,” and that, “chemicals in your head are making you feel this way,” said Caldwell.
Knowing the signs of suicide is so vital because, “80% of people who are feeling suicidal don’t come to counseling center right away, they talk to peers,” McEachern said.
It’s important to, “Open your eyes and learn skills on how to help a friend or someone in distress,” said McEachern, which is exactly what the Ask/Listen/Act [AC A] program at KSC does.
ACA is, “Gatekeeper training that’s focused for students to recognize signs of distress,” said McEachern.
In addition to this, McEachern also works with a creativity team and outreach program which focuses on suicide, and suicide prevention on campus. “We meet weekly and we’re trying to get students to join in with us so that we can get perspectives and ideas and creativity regarding what will basically reach students,” said McEachern.
On Wednesday, September 26th, the Active Minds Club will have a candlelight vigil in honor of suicide awareness with an educational table for more information.
“Suicide affects every single person, the more we know and can become familiar with it, the more we can intervene and help people before it’s too late,” said McEachern.
Izzy Harris can be contacted at