While the great majority of our students are in good health, we are concerned about increasing mental health problems being experienced by some of our students. Specifically, serious major depression is the most frequently occurring emotional problem which we are seeing. While most students with depression do not commit suicide, sadly, we have had two completed suicides last year.
This note is to enlist your support in helping to identify and refer students with depression, especially those who may be exhibiting signs of suicidal thinking. Please don't hesitate to call the Counseling Center (591-5968) or the Birkam Health Center (591-2614) to refer a student for counseling services. You might also be aware that Mecosta County Community Mental Health (796-5825) and their outreach service, Listening Ear (Days: 989 772-2918; Evenings and Weekends: 231 796-5825) are also available to students.
I know that many of you are knowledgeable and sensitive to depression and its sometimes tragic consequences. While there are several kinds of depression, here is a reminder of some common symptoms and signs to look for (usually several need to be present for a clear diagnosis of depression):
Some signs of suicidal feelings in our students include:
Suicidal risk becomes higher if some of the following conditions are present. In other words, one's risk of attempting or completing suicide increases with the following features:
Here are some actions you can take if you suspect that someone is suicidal:
While we cannot prevent all suicides even with the most abundant resources, we can get to know our students and reach out to those who are troubled. When asked, most people who are depressed will talk about how they feel and will even disclose suicidal thoughts. Your concern for and discussion with someone in this emotional state can actually defuse suicidal intentions.
Please contact the Counseling Center if you would like us to deliver a classroom program on managing stress and depression of if you would be interested in a similar program for your department. We also have information in print and electronic form. Finally, don't hesitate to consult with us if you are concerned about one of your students.
Sullivan, Ph.D., LPC
Director Birkam Health and Counseling Centers
Ferris State University Counseling Center
Phone: 231- 591-5968
Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:00 - 12:00 PM; 1:00 - 5:00 PM