Sep 27, 2013 7:20 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Student suicide awareness forum held at Cal Poly

A suicide prevention forum at Cal Poly on Friday held much more meaning for the students and the community. Already this week, one Cal Poly student committed suicide, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

The campus club Active Minds hosted the event "Send Silence Packing" at the University Union Plaza. Jessica Watson, the club's president, said they were originally going to have a much larger display for the suicide awareness forum, including a video presentation. The club also planned on laying out 1,100 backpacks to signify the number of students lost to suicide each year nationally. But, Watson said, out of respect, they decided to have a booth at the University Union instead.

At the booth, Watson and other club members handed out cards and pamphlets to their peers, letting them know about the counseling services available at Cal Poly.

Watson said hearing statistics makes suicide very real. She said one in four Americans have some type of mental illness and suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.

"I think that's why our club is so important, especially the fact that we're a peer helping peer situation, which I think kinda gives us this unique level of accessibility that normally we wouldn't have. But, I think our Cal Poly students don't always know that they have us and our counseling services as a resource at all times," said Watson.

Watson said they were even walking students from the booth at the UU to the counseling services office to show them exactly where it is on campus, because she said not very many people know that resource is there.

On Tuesday, October 1, Cal Poly is holding a candlelight vigil to remember those who have been impacted by suicide, trauma, and mental health issues. It will be held at the Robert E. Kennedy Library at 5:30pm.



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