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Suicide awareness should be reminder silent war fought by many

By Dan Arnold
On September 20, 2018

Another academic year has arrived and with it brings new individuals to blend in with the current populous that is the student body here on the main campus of Kirkwood Community College.  

While this can be a prime opportunity for most to meet new people and gain social experience, for others like myself, it can be difficult and poses individual challenges due to an internal and intimate silent war some fight on a daily basis.  

It is not the traditional kind of conflict that one may think of. Instead, the battlefield for this war is within the mind.  These warriors stumble through their daily lives at odds with unseen enemies that often means taking up a fight against their own thoughts.  

Though modern times have allowed for more understanding, education and treatment of conditions like mental illness, depression and PTSD there are those who are still lost as casualties by way of suicide. 

College students nationwide are a group largely impacted by the aftermath of suicide, with many institutions participating in observance days and events in an effort to reach out to those who are troubled.  

Suicide Prevention Day was observed on Sept. 10 and brought to light my own challenges and experiences with the pressure of life.

 I also think of others in my life who have struggled and while some have won their battles, some have lost as well. I am sad to admit that I have attended more than one funeral of someone I knew who ended their own life.  

I want to be open and honest about this subject that is still taboo because I know first-hand about the physical and psychological damage one can face in one’s life; hopefully it will bring me and others closure, courage or peace of mind to seek help and not feel like there is no way out.  

The National Health Institute and the Center for Disease control both site suicide as the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-34, which includes the majority of college attendees. 

Chances are most of us have lost someone, know someone who has or they themselves are having a hard time in life and may be on the edge. 

As the school year continues, remember to be kind to and aware of those around you. If you are having trouble yourself, remember there is confidential help available anytime you may need it. 

Counseling services are available on campus by calling 319-398-5540 or visiting 108 Iowa Hall. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline offers support free of charge 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-8255. 

Take it from me and my personal experience: Suicide causes pain to many but there is help out there and it starts with speaking up to begin inner healing, even though it can be scary.

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