UNL hosts suicide prevention and mental health conversation

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – For suicide awareness month, UNL hosted a suicide prevention and mental health conversation outside the student union on Wednesday.

Madi Pfeifer, a member of the UNL group Out of the Darkness, said talking to someone can help a ton.

“Sometimes people are just feeling alone, feel like they have no one to talk to, or that no one cares about them,” she said.  “Just reaching out to someone saying ‘hey I care about you, how are you doing?’ can make a huge difference.”

The event on campus was also meant to help break the stigma of talking about mental health.

“We’ve got to start normalizing talking about mental health, seeking help and just really normalize everything about mental health and recognize that it’s as important as physical health,” said Megan Allen, a research specialist at UNL Public Policy Center.

While talking about mental health is important, it’s also important to know the signs of someone in mental distress.

Allen said some of the signs include being disinterested in their normal activities and withdrawing from friend groups.

Suicide is the 13th leading cause of death in Nebraska and is the 2nd leading cause of death among those ages 10-44, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Mariah Johnson, a counselor and outreach coordinator at UNL, said talking with students about resources and getting them connected is important.

She also said it’s essential to make students feel comfortable and safe before having a conversation about getting help.

For those who may be having a crisis and those supporting someone who may be having a crisis, it’s easier than ever to contact the national suicide hotline.

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