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UALR tackles growing issue of student suicides | Health

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UALR tackles growing issue of student suicides
Health, News, Schools
UALR tackles growing issue of student suicides

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students in the United States. 80 percent of college students who attempt suicide never seek help afterward. By region, the south has the most suicides each year. In the nation, Arkansas ranks 15th in deaths by suicide.

Arkansas is the only state without a federal grant to help with suicide prevention. However, that has not deterred college campuses from taking this growing problem into their own hands. That's why the University of Arkansas at Little Rock declares this week "Suicide Prevention Week".

The number of suicides is on the rise. Already this summer, a third year student committed suicide, and another student committed suicide last spring.

Dr. Michael Kirk, director for UALR's counseling and career services, says the worst semester on record for the school was in the fall of 2012 when 11 suicide attempts were reported.

"It's a permanent solution to a temporary problem," Dr. Kirk says. "The person is usually in a deep depression. You can look for signs like someone who has been outgoing becoming much more secluded and doesn't care to go out or maybe someone who's been a sharp dresser always and doesn't care much about their appearance anymore."

Dr. Kirk says you can't be afraid to ask the tough questions because talking it out can be the best preventative method, and that means being blunt.

"Ask somebody, 'are you considering killing yourself?' You don't have to beat around the bush," says Kirk, "you don't have to be afraid that talking to someone about it, that bringing it up, is going to cause it."

For college students, suicide is not a rare occurrence but it is rarely talked about.

That's why UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson wants to make every day this week focused intently on bringing suicide to the surface instead of it being such a taboo topic.

"Suicide prevention is everyone's business," says Anderson.

The application for the federal suicide prevention grant has been submitted by the Department of Human Services in the past. This year, the Arkansas Department of Health has submitted an application. They find out this week if that grant will be approved. If approved, more than $700,000 will be given to the state to actively help with suicide prevention.


Important Contacts:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.TALK (8255)

UALR Counseling Services: 501.569.3185



Monday @ Noon, Diamond Café
Chancellor's Proclamation & Kick off

Tuesday @ 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Diamond Café
Creative Station and Give Away Day – Fun, Food, and Free Stuff

Wednesday 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Diamond Café & Mall Area
"Together We Can" Memorial Vigil – Food, Friends & Lights Display

Thursday @ 10:00am – 2:00 p.m., DSC Upper Concourse
"Gallery of Hope" Artistic Expression Contest, OPEN TO ALL – Food, Entertainment, & Art

Friday @ Noon – 3:00 p.m., DSC A & B
Food, Contest Awards & Reception

To make a donation to suicide prevention, click here.

Health, News, Schools