Aggies Share Messages Of Hope On World Suicide Awareness Day
More than 400 Aggies filled Rudder Plaza with more than candlelight Tuesday night in observance of World Suicide Awareness Day.
During the ‘Not Another Aggie’ Suicide Awareness Walk, Texas A&M University students, faculty and staff and members of the Bryan-College Station community could find words of support, resources for those struggling with suicidal thoughts and moving personal stories from survivors at the school who shared a common message: you are not alone.
“You should fight for your life because it can get better and it will,” a senior Texas A&M student told attendees while sharing her personal account of dealing with suicidal thoughts.
As a Latina, she underscored the importance of taking on cultural and societal stigmas that may prevent some individuals from seeking help, saying she “wanted people like me to tell me that it would get better.”
During the event organized by Texas A&M Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Suicide Awareness & Prevention Office, CAPS Director Mary Ann Covey said the presence of hundreds of Aggies sent an important message to those who struggle with suicidal thoughts or those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
“When suicide happens, it impacts so many people in so many different ways,” Covey said. “There isn’t one way to make sense of it, and it makes people really struggle and not know how to handle it. We do understand one of the biggest factors in suicide is the lack of feeling connected, and this event is to show how much we care and how much we are connected.”
The steady increase in attendance of the event, now in its third year, mirrors an increase in the amount of people seeking suicide prevention training on campus.
Santana Simple, associate director of Texas A&M of the Suicide Awareness & Prevention office and assistant director of CAPS, said her office normally trains 1,000 people per year, and that number was already reached this summer.
“What this signals to me is people do want to talk about it,” Simple said. “They care about this issue and it’s something we can do together.”
In addition to the student speaker, two Texas A&M staff members shared their stories.
A staff member who has struggled with suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety since she was a teen shared her personal story of perseverance.
“I am still here,” she said. “I am still fighting every single day.”
Before attendees joined a global moment of silence and a walk through campus, an Iraq War veteran-turned Texas A&M staff member shared how helping others gave him the strength he needed to overcome his struggle with suicidal thoughts.
“I can tell you that it gets better,” he said.