National Suicide Prevention Month at Bucks

Courtesy+of+Unsplash

Courtesy of Unsplash

Judith Russo, Centurion Staff

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. There are many organizations and people at Bucks as well as on the county, state, and nationwide levels working to help people to prevent death by suicide.
Approximately 7 million volunteers and 1 million mental health professionals care. They provide hotlines, warmlines, prayer lines, support groups and counseling for sadness, stress, loss, drug and other problems. These statistics are from the US Census and America’s Health Rankings.
This is especially important now with nationwide stress-related disorders surging during COVID, a study published in Nature shows.
Bucks has been doing its part and is one of only five out of Pennsylvania’s 260 colleges/universities designated by the Pennsylvania Deptartment of Education as a Certified Suicide Prevention Institution of Higher Education.
To receive this designation Bucks developed a comprehensive plan to advise and provide students, staff and community of mental health and suicide prevention services on and off campus. Bucks plan can be found at https://bit.ly/BucksStdMentalHealth.
This website has a wealth of information about support services such as counseling, hotlines and self care for anxiety, depression and many other problems.
Four out of Bucks six counselors attended the National Suicide Prevention Summit where experts on suicide prevention lead 11 intensive workshops on how to help.
“I was surprised to find out that the US has high suicide rates compared to most other modern countries,” says Jim Gilligan, M.S.NCC, LPC, Bucks counselor.. “It’s stress, they don’t eat or sleep right and exhaust flight or fright. Taking drugs to fix it causes an even worse downward cycle,” he explains. “But the last few years, suicide rates have gone down overall. It may be because of interventions.”
In 2019, Bucks received a college strategic initiative grant to train mental health first aid workers. So far, 80 college staff members have been trained. This includes many of the security staff who are first responders. Right now, the Mental Health First Aid class is available through continuing education for $89.00. Additional information is available at mentalhealthfirstaide.org
Bucks has also offered QPR (question, persuade, refer) one day workshops to inform and teach about suicide prevention. This course can be taken online also.qprinstitute.com
“We all need to be a little kinder and have the courage to talk about things that might make us vulnerable,” says Mandy Reilly, NCC, LPC Bucks counselor. “When we talk about suicide it can be life affirming, connecting and understanding each other on a real level.”
Bucks counselor appointments are free to students. To make an appointment call 215-968-8189 or email [email protected] If it is an emergency off hours, security staff at 215-968-8911 is trained in mental health first aid and can respond, then call the counselor on call 24/7. The Lenape Valley Foundation will come to campus if needed. 215-785-9765 or 800-222-9016
Bucks Website specifically lists these support services and many more:

● National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: suicidepreventionlifeline.org, 1-800-273-8255, available 24 hours a day/7 days a week
● Crisis Text Line: crisistextline.org, text HOME to 741741 at any time, for any type of crisis. If you’re a person of color who is experiencing a crisis, you can also text STEVE to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor of color.
● NAMI: https://www.nami.org/find-support/nami-helpline