QPR seminar brings hope to Mesa

Alicia Sanchez, News Editor

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Many students have heard friends and family say: “I’m so stressed, I want to kill myself.” But, most take it in jest, thinking that they are not really suicidal; what could potentially be a warning sign for suicide is ignored. Students have to cope with difficult situations and are stressed with the amount of homework and duties that they need to complete. Most have jobs that they need to work aside from being full time students. Throughout long periods of relentlessly working, students begin to feel the pressures of being a working student. While being stressed is a normal aspect of life, extreme suicidal thoughts are not.

In order to provide information to Mesa College students on how to help people who may be suicidal, Student Health Services conducted a Question, Persuade, and Refer Suicide Prevention Seminar where they learned how to give a suicidal person hope.

The seminar was lead by Leon Altamirano-clinical supervisor from the department of mental wellness, prevention, and intervention program-to provide information on the national data on campus suicide and depression. According to Altamarino, suicide has become a negative issue in society for it has become the second-leading cause of death among 20-24 year old people; one in 12 U.S college students make a plan to commit suicide. College students are highly at risk of having suicidal thoughts for all the stress they endure, especially during midterms and finals.

When a person commits suicide, more than one person is affected by the loss. Approximately 8-10 people are severely impacted by a suicide. Friends and family alike mourn the loss of a loved one and are impacted for the rest of their lives. For this reason, the QPR seminar provides the best predictors of someone who is contemplating suicide. Other predictors include low energy, social isolation, low self-esteem, relationship difficulty, and thoughts or expressions of suicide. Altamarino states: “ Being so hopeless that they try a more lethal means.” The most extreme predictor is hopelessness, when a person feels hopeless, his desire to live decreases infinitely, resulting in suicide.

One way to know when a person is having suicidal thoughts is by paying attention to direct verbal clues such as: “I’m going to kill myself.” Or, they could present less direct verbal clues such as: “ I’m tired of life, I just want it to end.” There are also behavioral clues such as buying a gun.

In the seminar, Altamirano discussed a study by Dr. Vincennt Felitti and Dr. Robert Anda in which he explained the components of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study. If a child experiences 4 or more adverse experiences, they are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder in the future. This creates an issue in society because once an individual is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, it increases the risk of suicidal attempts. There is a great correlation between having a mental disorder and later then having suicidal thought. Altamirano states: the brain stops working in an abused child; it changes the way that the brain develops.” This has could create a mental disorder- such as depression- that could ultimately end in suicide.

If  a person sees that someone is about to commit suicide, the best thing to do is to dial 911 . There are many hotlines available for public use ,such as the Access and Crisis Line (888)724-7240. In these hotlines, people can talk to professionals about their situaton. The Student Health Services center also provides resources and information  for people who feel suicidal.

People could take action to help prevent suicide by questioning if they have suicidal thoughts, persuading them that there is hope for life, and then referring them to a professional who can help overcome suicidal thoughts. This seminar taught how to bring hope to someone’s life.