University of Arizona launches Suicide Prevention Initiative website

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 6:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Taking a step toward destigmatizing mental health and suicide prevention is the goal of the University of Arizona’s new Suicide Prevention Initiative website.

One person dies every eleven minutes by suicide, according to the CDC.

But the number of people who think about or have attempted suicide in much higher. During the first year of the pandemic, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the 10-14 and 25-34 age groups.

Because of the increased need for mental health resources, the university is opening up the conversation about suicide prevention with a new tool.

“It walks you through how to help yourself or how to help a friend or faculty members. We really tried to curate as much helpful information, tools, videos, and resources that we could so it would be an intervention all on its own for anyone who was having concerns about themselves or someone else,” psychologist Dr. Leslie Ralph said.

Dr. Ralph says the website isn’t just for students and staff, anyone can use it.

“I’ve also been using some pages on the website in appointments with clients if they are wanting to make a safety plan, we walk through the how to help yourself page together,” she said.

Resources on how to help yourself, friends, family, and students are all right there in one place along with information on suicide warning signs, crisis support, and how to talk about suicide.

“So far, I think it’s a really good resource,” sophomore Gwendolyn Morgan-Flowers, said.

During the pandemic she dealt with a lot of loneliness, but was scared to reach out because of the stigma around mental health.

“I think it will be a source of, like ‘year, this is what I’m going through,’ and just give students someone to talk to,” she said.

The website has been up and running for about a week, and the creators tell me it’s been a successful start.

“The average length of time folks are spending on this website is about 22 minutes which is a long time to be on a website,” senior health educator Carrie Johnson said.

A lot of thought went into the structure of the website to make it user-friendly.

“We really wanted to break things down and make things more easily digestible. So whatever stage they’re in or knowledge they have around suicide prevention, everyone can find something beneficial to them or that they can share with somebody else,” she said.

Campus Health has an upcoming suicide prevention training that is free for students, staff, and faculty on April 22.

You can find more details about the training here and more on resources from NAMI here.

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