Giving hope to those in the dark: A look into campus aid for depression

By Parris Page

September is the month where classes begin, cider mills open, and the weather cools down—at least off and on in Michigan. But for those who don’t know, it’s also National Suicide Prevention Month.

When students walk around on campus no one really knows what’s going on with another person or what they may be thinking. That person may be smiling and happy on the outside, but in reality could be going through severe depression or anxiety, according to collegedegreesearch.net. On campus it’s so easy to get caught up in organizations, parties, and social media that students often forget that it can all be too much to handle for some.

About one million people die by suicide each year, and there are more than 1,100 suicides on college campuses per year according to collegedegreesearch.net. OU’s organization To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA)—whose goal and purpose is to present hope while finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide, had a display where they placed yellow flags in the grass outside of the Oakland Center to represent all of the lives lost to suicide, while also having posters with ‘warning signs’ to look for on display.

Some of the signs that someone may be going through depression include giving away meaningful possessions, being withdrawn, having extreme mood swings and not interacting or enjoying the things that they would normally enjoy.

“We want to make sure that students are aware,” Jennifer Oresti, president of TWLOHA said. “Transitioning into college is so hard for so many people, and it can bring on many different mental changes on college campuses.”

For those who aren’t sure what to do in a situation where a friend or classmate may start showing signs, they can be directed to the Graham Health Center on Oakland University’s campus, just north of the Meadow Brook Theatre.

“Our purpose is helping students to make their way through college, while also helping them to transition into adulthood,” Dr. David Schwartz of the counseling department said.

Graham Health Center offers six free sessions of counseling, diagnostic testing for people who may think they have learning disorders and outreach workshops for students.

For your information

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

suicidepreventionlifeline.org Graham Health Center (248) 370-2691

More Warning signs: Talking about being a burden, acting anxious, sleeping too little or too much, feeling isolated, talking about wanting to die, increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.