UA suicide prevention program honored - Tucson News Now

UA suicide prevention program honored

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

National recognition for the University of Arizona's suicide prevention program.

It is the first in Arizona to win the JedCampus seal, an award specifically for universities.

More universities are realizing that suicide prevention should be a focus of their campus health programs.

However, it can take much more than just offering services.

Suicide is considered the second leading cause of death, behind accidents, among college students in this country.

UA Campus Health for students has several elements to it, and that is what has helped it gain this national attention.

Students can get counseling and other services through the program or be referred to community resources.

The university's suicide prevention program has the early intervention and suicide prevention component through outreach and education.

There's also the training element that involves teaching faculty and students groups and others how to spot the signs and how to intervene to get the student to services.

Dr. Marian Binder is a clinical psychologist and the UA Counseling and Psych Services Director.

"It's an award that comes with some distinction that we're on the right track. We're doing the kinds of things that are going to be helpful, are going be important in trying to deal with suicide prevention on campus. And along with it also comes some feedback to the institution about things that could actually be improved," Binder says.

Binder says the number of "completed suicides" doesn't tell the whole story of how big a problem this is among college students.

"We see a lot of students that may not die. They may not actually complete a suicide, but they're thinking about it. They feel a loss of hope. They feel that they don't have other alternatives. Of course, people make suicide attempts and gestures that may not result in a completed suicide and sometimes it's only a bit of luck that they don't result in a completed suicide," Binder says.

Binder says Campus Health continues to unveil new arms of the education component.

The UA's on-campus suicide prevention effort continues to become more focused.

Now it is more specifically reaching out to students who are military veterans.

Binder says some veterans returning from combat and who have had multiple deployments are at higher risk for depression and for suicide.

"The purpose of the outreach to the veterans is basically, first of all, to get past the stigma of saying, 'You know I'm a soldier. I'm tough. I can handle anything. I don't have a problem,' and rather to re-message. That is it takes a strong person to say that they need help. And these are some of the things that you may be experiencing that may mean more than just that you're having a bad day or you're having trouble adjusting," Binder says.

The Jed Foundation awards the JedCampus seal.

The foundation was created by the parents of a former UA student who took his own life.

The foundation has awarded the seal to 37 schools nationwide.

The phone number for UA Counseling and Psych Services is 520-621-3334.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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