Mason offers options to help with mental health and suicide prevention

The information in this article may be exciting to some people. If you have suicidal thoughts, contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 800-273-8255 For support and assistance from a trained advisor. If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 911.
World Suicide Prevention Day

as part of Suicide Prevention Awareness MonthGeorge Mason University mental health leaders want to educate the campus community about issues related to suicide and mental health, empower the Patriots to participate in suicide prevention, help others in crises, and change the conversation around suicide.

College brings the excitement of increased freedom as well as the potential for anxiety associated with adjusting to living away from home, studying, and defining one’s identity. These stressors can act as triggers for anxiety and depression, as well as emotional distress. These feelings may lead to suicidal thoughts or actions, with enormous and potentially dangerous repercussions if help is not sought.

While COVID has begun to normalize conversations about mental health, public stigma around suicide can prevent people from getting the help they need. A dangerous myth is that asking someone about suicidal thoughts will lead that person toward behavior Jennifer Kahler, Director of Mason Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

“But that’s not the case,” Kahler said. When suicide is talked about with an emphasis on overcoming thinking and using positive, hopeful, and inspiring language, these conversations are very helpful and can prevent suicide.

The question about suicide is actually Q“Conversation pens so that those contemplating suicide don’t feel lonely,” Mason said. Psychology professor Christian Esposito Smithers, director of the Center for Evidence-Based Behavioral Health at Mason. Often people hide their thoughts from others and may feel as if no one will understand what they are going through. Asking others for warning signs about suicidal thoughts reduces the chance of suicidal acts.”

Mason provides student mental health resources and suicide prevention tools through a number of resources, including MasonCARES Suicide Prevention Programa two-hour custodial program designed to train faculty, staff, and students on how to respond to individuals who may be experiencing distress and suicidal thoughts and guide them in seeking appropriate assistance through CAPS.

If someone displays behaviors like Anxiety, expressing a lack of purpose, expressing feelings of entrapment or hopelessness, not attending class or withdrawing from activities, experiencing mood swings, etc., these may be warning signs of suicide.

“Training is one of the key parts of suicide prevention at Mason,” Kaller said. “MasonCARES educates faculty, students, and staff on how to support students in distress by teaching them the right questions to ask, what to say and when to ask for help. If individuals receive training and recognize the troubling signs, say something to the student, and communicate with CAPS, it can make a huge difference in getting that student help that they would not otherwise have.”

CAPS offers students free immediate assistance; No billing desk and no insurance required. Initial appointments are virtual, and providers work with students to figure out their preferred treatment method going forward.

Kahler added that any assistance students receive from CAPS is confidential and kept separate from academic records.

suicide prevention drawing

Another option for students is Mason Psychological Services CenterEvidence-based, accessible, affordable, and culturally sensitive treatment and testing services are provided by Mason graduate students under clinical supervision. Other services include an emotional support line and short-term intervention sessions.

One of the goals of the center is to train doctors In evidence-based treatment, which includes suicide screening. This type of treatment is very important because it helps individuals to “To become their own therapist, endowed with lifelong skills such as the ability to effectively solve problems, evaluate ideas, manage strong emotions and communicate in a way that others will listen.”

If you are concerned about your ability to keep yourself or others safe, contact CAPS on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or Wednesday between noon and 4:30 p.m. at 703-993-2380.

For mental health crises after hours, call 703-993-2380 and select Option 1 to contact a crisis counselor.

Other resources for suicide prevention or mental health can be found at After-hours crisis support page.

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