OPINION: Be an advocate for suicide prevention

The time to be afraid of awkward conversations is over. It’s time to talk about mental health and depression.


Carlo Marzan

The Health and Wellness Promotion office is located on the first floor of The WELL. Here, students can seek the help they need, schedule counseling and attend wellness workshops.

Carlo Marzan

In May, a friend of mine had ended his own life. By the end of June, I had seen the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix Original Series revolving around the aftermath of a teenage girl’s suicide. In July the lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, killed himself. Needless to say, suicidal thoughts were on my mind throughout the summer.

Suicide is a sensitive subject that many people deal with, no matter which stance we take on it. Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day and it also marks the beginning of the National Suicide Prevention Week. During this time, and for the foreseeable future, it is our duty as Sac State students to put more effort into looking out for the wellness of our peers:

1. We can’t continue to perpetuate the negative connotations of suicidal thoughts and depression. My biggest concern when dealing with depression (both my own and with others) is whether I was legitimately depressed or if it was all in my head. Individuals can get mixed emotions trying to convince themselves that they aren’t or shouldn’t be depressed, sometimes even making the person feel worse in the process.

The reason some people do this is because they don’t want to look weak in the public’s eyes. Depression and mental illnesses are associated with weakness and instability. This often leads to the individual attempting to avoid the situation all together. We shouldn’t have to be afraid to admit that we are feeling depressed and we shouldn’t look to others as lesser for doing so.

2. Every person has their reasons for their depression and suicidal thoughts. One of the biggest things going against ‘13 Reasons Why’ is its depiction of suicide as a justifiable response to certain life events. The reality of suicide is the fact that it isn’t always taken to an extremes. Sometimes the smallest reasons can set something off in person, and we have to help them deal with it. There doesn’t need to be justification for a person’s actions when it comes to dealing with suicide. You can never truly understand what another person is going through; each person’s experiences are unique to themselves. You can empathize with them, but you can never fully understand how they think and feel. As an advocate to prevent suicide, you shouldn’t have to question their motives. They are hurting and you need to be there for them, regardless of the ‘why.’

3. It comes and it goes. It really is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Understanding this can help both people dealing with their own depression and those helping others with their depression. Depression doesn’t go away with a single treatment. Being aware that your depression and mental state can come back at anytime can help you prepare yourself for what’s to come. There is no stopping it, but anticipation for it helps in waves.

It can be hard to learn that a close one is dealing with depression/ suicidal thoughts and even more difficult to open up about your own. Whatever it takes, people are ready and willing to help. I would rather be the one to stay up at night listening to your thoughts than finding out the next day.

Call (916) 368-3111 for a 24-hour Suicide Prevention Crisis Line or (916) 278-6461 for the Student Health and Counseling Center.