Risk Intervention Safety Education are working to make sure the Texas Tech community is aware of certain aspects they have set in place.
Suicide Prevention Month is a national campaign that occurs every September to bring awareness to the prevalence of suicide. RISE encourages students to learn how to reach out while providing them with the correct tools and knowledge to do so.
“Suicide Prevention Week is Texas Tech’s adaptation to bring the same initiative to our campus," Ashley Rose Marino, program manager for communications, marketing and design with RISE said.
From a student’s perspective, Suicide Prevention Week at Tech is something to evaluate and be well educated on, Hyleh Davis, a senior majoring in advertising from Junction and RISE design and marketing student assistant, said.
“We try to equip students on how to reach out, how to get them help, we provide students with resources on what they can do or who they can talk to, and basically we just want to raise awareness,” Davis said, “Suicide is the 10th highest death rate in the United States, and it’s the top two among college students. So, it’s something that we really like to bring awareness to on campus.”
Kelsey Lueck, program manager of Events, Outreach, and Peer Education adviser said RISE tends to focus on the various types of wellness as best as they can, especially during this time with COVID-19 in effect.
“Our main learning objective and goals are essentially to let people know that this is awareness month and understand that people suffer in silence all of the time,” Lueck said. “You do not have to stay quiet or deal with this all by yourself. There are people to talk to, people to confide in, and millions of numbers to call to have somebody to listen, to care, and provide that platform for you."
This week, RISE’s main goal for the Texas Tech community is to inform, she said. RISE wants to let students and faculty know that there is always help that they can find.
“Really our goal this year is to just let students know that there are resources both on campus and nationally if they’re not in Lubbock,” Marino said. “I know this sounds so cliche, but we’re all in this together, and it’s really OK to reach out. We want students to be aware of those resources.”
As a student she understands what both ends of the spectrum include, Davis said. She is able to provide a good opinion of the goals RISE is working toward students and faculty of Texas Tech.
“I think our main goal is to just let students know that somebody is here for them. I know that a lot of times with cases of people becoming suicidal, they feel very lost and trapped," Davis said. "So we want to let students know that even though you don’t know us personally or know what our organization is about, there are people on campus that truly care about our students and would be deeply hurt if something were to happen to any of them."
Lueck made it a point to make sure that all students are aware of the crisis help line number not just this week, but always. She believes this is a great tool for any and everyone who is seeking help in times of need.
“The main goal for students this week is to put the crisis help line number in your phone and your best Red Raider pal’s phone, and also have them do the same,” Lueck said.
For students to spread awareness of Suicide Prevention, RISE has made it clear that knowing your resources is essential to be aware. The crisis help line number is 806-742-5555. This number has a counselor on the other end that you can access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“As long as you have a cellphone signal you can access it,” Lueck said.
Other options include the Student Counseling Center by dialing 806-742-3674.
RISE hosts a program called QPR (Question Persuade Refer) for anyone on the TTU campus, and this is a prime example of how they want students and faculty members to participate and be aware of the people around them. Typically, QPR’s are every month but with COVID-19 they are unsure of how the future will play out. Visit their website, www.rise.ttu.edu to learn and find out information as they update it.
“Specific tips I would like people to know this month is to talk to somebody," Luek said. "You deserve to have somebody listening to you actively to understand your struggles that you’re dealing with."
Marino said to take time for one's self this week,
“ Take some time for self-reflection, try to step back from all of the classes and all the Zoom meetings, and take some time to focus on yourself this week too,” Marino said.
To spread awareness of suicide prevention, RISE has many solutions on how to help and think of creative ways to make it more prevalent. Davis said she believes discussing and talking about student suicide helps the people around you become more aware.
“I think mainly just talk about it. Suicide has this big stigma attached to it, and it’s honestly really heartbreaking that when people are dealing with bad mental health or just really going through it, people tend to isolate themselves. I feel like as college students we just kind of let that happen with our friends…," Davis said, “If we can talk about it more, people will realize the signs of suicide and hopefully we can prevent those things before they happen.”
With the worldwide pandemic currently occurring, RISE has experienced more of a challenge when it comes to planning events accordingly.
“We have taken a step back from in-person things and really showing your pride in reducing the stigma and helping people with whatever platforms you’re the most comfortable using,” Lueck said.
“This year especially is really important to know that all of these commercials and media telling you that you’re not alone. It’s really easy to feel alone and really easy to get in that mindset. So, we want to make sure that people know that RISE is a safe place,” Marino said, “RISE is here to literally get you any help that you need, and there’s no shame in asking for help from anybody, there’s really not. That’s kind of what we’re here to do during COVID-19, Suicide Prevention Week especially.”