Every college student can agree that this is one of the most difficult periods in life. Between homework, achieving good grades, balancing relationships, plus jobs and extracurriculars, life gets stressful. All this stress can negatively impact your mental health. While suicide is an issue that is addressed year-round, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

It is a time for those affected to share resources and stories to shed light on a highly taboo and stigmatized topic. The goal is to raise awareness and connect individuals with mental health conditions to proper treatment. It is a very important, albeit gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, topic to bring to the forefront of discussion.

Suicidal thoughts typically stem from untreated mental health conditions. Anyone can be affected, regardless of race, gender, age or background. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 1 out of every 5 adults will face a mental health condition this year. According to the CDC, suicide rates have increased by 30 percent since 1999. Annually, around 50,000 people lose their lives to suicide.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month presents the opportunity for many communities around the nation to hold events and raise awareness for the cause. MSU and the greater Bozeman community sponsor events during the month as well as throughout the fall.

On Saturday, Sept. 7, Bozeman hosted the forth annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The walk raises money for suicide prevention, education, research and advocacy. Bozeman is also organizing the annual Run for Your Life 5K on Saturday, Oct. 26. The proceeds from the Halloween-themed race benefit the Bozeman Help Center. Over the years, the Bozeman community has raised $40,000 and supported those affected by suicide.

Additionally, Counseling and Psychological Services at MSU is hosting five suicide prevention training courses this September and October. There will be a Sack Lunch Seminar put on by CPS on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in SUB 167. The professional staff at CPS provide free and confidential services including group and individual counseling services, outreach and prevention, plus consultation to students, parents, staff, faculty and the Bozeman community. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, everyone can benefit from honest conversations regarding mental health and suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, know that there are many available resources and people who can help. 

In a crisis situation, always contact 911. Additionally, the National Suicide Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. A Bozeman-specific resource is the 24-hour Bozeman Help Center, a safe and confidential non-profit providing crisis counseling, outreach and advocacy. The contact number is 406-586-3333. These resources are confidential and incredibly critical for individuals struggling with mental health problems. Take the first step and start the conversation.

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