September brings National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that suicide is the leading cause of death among college students, just under accidental injuries. According to Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 7.7% of undergraduate and graduate students seriously considered suicide. At SF State, Health Promotion and Wellness, Counseling and Psychological Services and Active Minds focus on students who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. 

“Our goal is to increase social support around mental health and mental health promotion in order to foster a community of caring, help-seeking behavior and a sense of belonging for SFSU students,” said Karen Boyce, director of Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW), a unit of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Some programs at HPW, such as the self-care station and therapy animals, seek to aid students’ mental health. Workshops throughout the semester include Community Care: How to Help a Friend in Distress, where students will learn the signs of distress and ways they can help themselves and their friends, and Self-Care for Resilience, a workshop where students will learn various self-care strategies to use on a daily basis. 

Programs and workshops are open to all students. The next workshop on Oct. 10 will be Mental Health 101, in which volunteers at HPW help students learn the difference between mental health and mental illness.

The Health Promotion and Wellness Center hosted Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10 with a booth to promote its workshops, events and positivity toward students.

The volunteers at the booth were holding handmade signs that said, “Don’t give up! You’re almost there!” and an “encourage mint” sign with a drawing of a mint leaf saying “You can do it!” They were high-fiving students and giving compliments to those passing by.

“It’s nice to know about the care and community,” Tyler MiereI, a film production major, said. “I appreciate the signs and it made me feel good.” 

Counseling and Psychological Services, also known as CAPS, is another place on campus where students can go for help. The counselors specialize in individual and couples therapy, support groups and skill-building workshops. The CAPS website also has self-care tips for stress management, time management and understanding alcohol and drugs.

“It’s important for colleges to have these resources available for students because it can be a new, challenging or hard time in someone’s life,” Boyce said. 

Active Minds is a student-run organization that focuses on mental health issues, suicide prevention and education and advocacy on campus. They use their services to encourage students to reach out to resources that will help them.

“Knowing about these services makes me feel like I’m not alone,” said Ashley Goins, a graduate student in Fashion Marketing. “I like to know that there’s a place where I can get help and not feel ashamed about asking.”

For students struggling with their mental health or having suicidal thoughts, please contact any of the on-campus services listed above. Students may also consider contacting the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and the San Francisco Crisis Line at 415-781-0500.