URBANA — As the beginning of a new school year can be stressful for students and others, university officials want to remind campus community members of the mental health resources available to anyone fighting depression and anxiety.
The stresses of college life can have an impact on the mental wellness of students. According to the American College Health Association, each year, there are approximately 1,100 suicides on college campuses. About 6 percent of undergraduates and 4 percent of graduate students have seriously considered suicide in the last year. Of those, about half never told anyone they were having these feelings.
This year, Sept. 5 through Sept. 11 is National Suicide Prevention Week. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wants to support students, faculty and staff who are struggling with suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety and other mental health crises.
Students struggling with any kind of mental health issue are encouraged to reach out to the Counseling Center for assistance by calling 217-333-3704. If a student is experiencing a mental health emergency, they can come to the Counseling Center Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. After hours, students with mental health emergencies are encouraged to call the crisis line at 217-359-4141. Anyone who is experiencing a medical emergency, or for whom suicide is imminent, should call 911.
The University of Illinois Police Department, Champaign Police Department and Urbana Police Department all have crisis intervention officers who are available to assist in such emergencies. These officers are specially trained in assessing mental health crises, speaking to people who are experiencing that crisis and getting them the help or resources they may need.
Campus departments have also teamed up to place emergency phones and signage on the top level of a campus parking garage — an area where students and others may be experiencing a mental health crisis — in hopes of reaching out to anyone considering suicide. The phones connect to the University of Illinois Police Department, which is available to provide resources.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also provides a Faculty-Staff Assistance Program, which offers confidential assistance to employees and their families who may be experiencing difficulties that impact their lives. This includes assessments, short-term counseling, crisis services and referrals. More information about the program is available at fsap.illinois.edu.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).