Raising awareness of suicide on college campus through storytelling and mutual-aid
The National Vital Statistics reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10 to 34 year olds (Kochanek, Murphy, XU & Tejada-Vera,2016). Although suicide is the number two cause of death for 10 to 34 year olds, it is the second leading cause of death among American college students (Schwartz,2006). In an effort to reduce suicide and increase suicide prevention on the campus of California State University, Stanislaus, this Graduate Project held an event to raise awareness and enhance suicide prevention resources on campus. Furthermore, the aim of this current Graduate Project was to create a safe space for students to discuss the topic of suicide with peers with the utilization of a panel, storytelling and Mutual-Aid. The Project Designer utilized evaluations to determine if the panelist were effective in raising awareness of suicide and enhancement of suicide preventive resources on campus. A total of 38 students attended the event. The evaluations showed that 78% of students found the panelist were most effective in raising awareness of suicide. The data also showed that 58% of students discussed how impactful the sharing of personal stories by the panelist were and 32% wrote how they felt the event created a safe space for them to talk about the topic of suicide and suicide prevention openly. In addition, 50% of students felt that they would not change anything to enhance their learning. While answering one of the question, one student wrote “nothing, what I experienced I did not expect but I can honestly can say I loved every minute of it.” The implications for this Graduate Project, in terms of social work practice, was to bring awareness to the stigmatized topic of suicide on college campuses. This current Graduate Project did this by creating a safe space where students could start the conversation regarding suicide and suicide prevention. As there is little research around the utilization of storytelling and Mutual-Aid in regards to the topic of suicide, future research should include these measures as a means in raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention on college campuses.