Suicide Prevention Week to Showcase Social Media as a Life-Saving Tool

Sept. 19, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for college students. That’s why the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) is engaging the campus community via social media and other interactive tools during its fourth annual Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 24-28). The goal is to highlight awareness and resources available to students, faculty members and staffers at The University of Texas at Austin.

“Suicide Prevention Week is a call to action for our campus to come together to learn how we can recognize and support our students who are facing mental health challenges. It is another way we encourage students to make their mental health care a priority,” says Dr. Chris Brownson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and director of the CMHC.

The university is reaching out to the campus community in new ways using social media. Dr. Laura Ebady, CMHC staff psychologist and outreach coordinator, will join Marian Trattner, CMHC suicide prevention coordinator, to answer questions over Twitter using hashtag #SPWChat. The Twitter conversation continues throughout the week using hashtag #UTSPW. “ ‘Like’ to Save a Life Online” is a program that will explore social networking as a tool to recognize when someone might be thinking of suicide. Other traditional events include:

  • “Be That One Who Helps A Friend,” a suicide prevention workshop.
  • “True Stories of Help and Hope,” a video and discussion group.
  • “Fighting Back Against Mental Health Stigma,” an informational display.

“These events are an opportunity to change lives by learning how to be aware of what others in the university community may be going through and offering help when it's needed most,” says Gage Paine, vice president for Student Affairs. Students, faculty members and staffers are urged to “Be That One” who recognizes when a student or friend is thinking about suicide.

Free food and T-shirts will be provided throughout the week while they last. Visit the CMHC website for a complete schedule of events and a full list of campus counseling and mental health resources.

Behavior Concerns Advice Line: 512-232-5050

UT Telephone Counseling: 512-471-CALL (2255)

For more information, contact: Joshua Cook, Office of the Vice-President for Student Affairs, 512-232-5849;  Jane Bost, Counseling and Mental Health Center, 512-471-3515.