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Contributed by: Katie Dunn, senior Public Health major

Dear Editor Thompson,
In 2016, there were thirty lives claimed by suicide in Montgomery County, TN. 1 Suicide is the number two leading cause of death for young people in the United States and continues growing. Suicide can be prevented when people talk about mental health and seek help when needed.
There are warning signs of depression that people may not know, which are big changes in behavior, recent failure, and not wanting to go out with friends.2 So the warning signs don’t become overwhelming, coping skills such as journaling or talking to someone can help address these warning signs. On October 10, 2018, a health fair was held in the UC, where my group focused on suicide prevention and awareness. We showed students different coping skills that would help them deal with different emotions, and asked them to write something positive on a sticky note. We gave them infographics with resources, warning signs, and bystander information.
My life changed forever on December 6, 2017. After a long 24-hour search, my family and I learned that my seventeen-year-old little brother had ended his own life. There was no why. There was only the sadness and pain left behind after that horrific day. You don’t know it will happen to someone close to you until it does. People should speak up about mental health, and know it’s okay to ask for help. Austin Peay counseling services helped 110 new clients in the Spring semester of 2018.3
Speak up about mental health. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to receive help from others. Suicide is real, and it does happen every day. You are not alone! Someone cares! I believe in you! Thank you to those who attended the health fair on October 10, 2018.

Sincerely,
Katie Dunn
Public Health Student

References:

1. Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. (2018). Status of suicide in Tennessee 2018. Retrieved from https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__tspn.org_wp-2Dcontent_uploads_2014_01_TSPN-2DStatus-2Dof-2DSuicide-2D2018.pdf&d=DwIGaQ&c=pFsveJJPHV1MuWVdwlSI7Q&r=s_pg14qKcsme1QFEmmr0Q1UQizJS7s3C7DKzKj70nKQ&m=-ntgfhM5iNJ-d1kIu2Hz3clKqtAQnK4z8668l2ZHvxM&s=RCwOEsVS19KqIl7-aqSREQ5INvq3l9vBrfhPDo_xiA0&e=
2. Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. (n.d.). Warning signs. Retrieved from https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__tspn.org_warning-2Dsigns&d=DwIGaQ&c=pFsveJJPHV1MuWVdwlSI7Q&r=s_pg14qKcsme1QFEmmr0Q1UQizJS7s3C7DKzKj70nKQ&m=-ntgfhM5iNJ-d1kIu2Hz3clKqtAQnK4z8668l2ZHvxM&s=MTYuWeetDlJjeDwOOq-mun3mWZWsNZjaCf2LOAarofo&e=
3. I. Hertado & Z. Anderson, personal communication, September 20, 2018.