CLC Looks To Change Dialogue Around Mental Illness During Suicide Prevention Week
September 9th through September 14th is National Suicide Prevention Week. Students and faculty at Central Lakes College are hoping to use the week to shed light on and change the dialogue around suicide and mental illness.
“Coming back to school, there’s a lot of stressors. It’s super important to make sure that there’s an awareness at the college but really, it should be all day, every day,” said Suzie Karsnia, Central Lakes College counselor.
On Tuesday, which is World Suicide Prevention Day, at Central Lakes College, organizers invited a speaker from the Minnesota Department of Health to talk with students and staff about ways we can change the dialogue around suicide and mental illness.
“Especially if somebody’s been affected by a suicide loss or is having potential suicidal thoughts, how do we talk in a way that’s respectful and caring and supportive and safe?” explained Stephanie Downey, Minnesota Department of Health Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator.
An example that Downey used is instead of saying someone is schizophrenic, instead say someone has or is living with schizophrenia.
“We want the language to be person-centered and not judgmental,” added Downey.
Above all, whether it be during National Suicide Prevention Week or throughout the entire year, organizers want you to know that if you’re struggling, it’s okay to talk about it.
“I hope that people just are comfortable listening to each other. You just need to be there. People just need to know that someone else cares,” said Karsnia.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental illness or having thoughts of suicide, call the Crisis Line and Referral Service at 218-828-HELP (4357).