Suicide prevention effort launched

By PATRICIA MORSE/Montana State News

Last semester 22 students at Montana State University attempted to commit suicide according to Montana News reporter Judy Slate.

This past week MSU hosted a statewide summit on suicide prevention, according to the MSU website.

However, Betsy Asserson, assistant director of the campus Counseling Center, believes that that number is not high and cites the center’s 80 percent success rate.  Additionally, Asserson said that the university has just recently began the practice of tracking suicides.

MSU is not alone in the perceived rise of suicide and suicidal tendencies, according to Dr. Don Marshall of the University of Puget Sound, there have been a national rise of campus suicides.

However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Montana has one of the top suicide rates per capita.

The summit is the first ever Montana Suicide Prevention Summit and has a goal of creating methods to prevent suicides on campuses in the state, as cited on their webpage.

According to the published agenda, the summit contained two days of speeches by professionals in the field of suicide prevention, and various workshops, involving students, faculty and clinical workers.

According to MSU, the summit featured three keynote speakers, Nance Roy, Ben Locke, and Donn Marshall.

All three suggested an increase in campus measures to assist students and prevent future instances of suicide.  Some proposed measures were additional information and training given to Residential Advisors to identify students who might be at risk for suicidal thoughts, restrict access to lethal methods, and an increase in campus awareness.

They also recommend that the universities create screening measures to identify students with depression and prevention training for incoming freshman.

– Edited by Tyler Worthen

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