Suicide prevention week has wide reach

Story by Lauren Church, photo by Maddie Knight, Clark Honors College Communications (University of Oregon)

Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oregon will take part in Suicide Prevention Week from November 16th through 20th with efforts meant for the entire community.

Anthony Macias, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s community service chairman, personally organized the week’s events. To him, Suicide Awareness Week is an opportunity to spread mental health knowledge and counseling resources.

“The goal is to bring awareness so that fewer people in our community have to go through the pain that surrounds depression and suicide,” he says. 

Macias collaborated with Eugene’s White Bird Clinic to develop a donation page. One of the clinic’s programs, Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS), is a mobile intervention group which operates a 24-hour crisis hotline as well as suicide prevention, assessment and intervention services, according to the program’s website. 

Along with a secure method to make online donations, the webpage includes links to White Bird’s resource programs. All proceeds from the fundraiser go directly to White Bird Clinic in order to fund its mental and physical health services for Lane County residents.

Macias said Sigma Alpha Epsilon will also hold a virtual meeting with a psychologist from the University of Oregon Health Center and a representative from the UO’s Suicide Prevention team on Monday, Nov. 16th, at 6 p.m. During the seminar, speakers will discuss early suicidal tendencies and how to help a friend who may display them. 

Macias said he hopes the seminar will de-stigmatize discussions about mental health struggles. “Suicide and suicidal thoughts are seen as shameful in society, and society hates talking about shame,” he says. The event will include a question-and-answer segment to get people talking about mental health and suicide prevention. 

Throughout Suicide Prevention Week, members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon will distribute around campus 1,000 wallet cards donated by the UO’s Suicide Prevention Team, according to Macias. Each handout contains information about mental health resources for students at the university. 

Additionally, Macias said Sigma Alpha Epsilon will gift a White Bird Clinic “help book” to each UO fraternity and sorority chapter house. Each booklet contains contact information for emergency crisis lines, tips for how to maintain one’s holistic wellbeing and details about how to support friends struggling with their mental health. 

For information about CAHOOTS’ hotlines and services, visit White Bird Clinic’s website. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 for free and confidential 24-hour support.