On Oct. 12, Jamey DiVietro, Professor of Psychology, Social & Behavioral Sciences Department, invited his students to wear blue in support of suicide awareness.
Two students, Serena Schoonveld and Anna Bach, decided they wanted to have a “Blue Day,” and DiVietro supported it. The two students had recently lost a friend from high school to suicide, and wanted to increase awareness for everyone.
Bach said DiVietro told her and Schoonveld to choose a color to coordinate in class to dedicate it to awareness.
“The colors for suicide awareness are turquoise, purple and yellow. The color that our town was wearing for our friend was blue. We thought it felt right to do blue so it related to our friend and it still could be connected to suicide awareness through turquoise-blue,” says Bach.
When DiVietro told his other classes they were going to wear blue and have a “Blue Day,” they got involved as well.
Schoonveld and Bach were both extremely happy that the classes all participated.
Bach says, “I was glad that my friend [Schoonveld] and I were able to make an impact bigger than just our class. Hearing that people in other classes participated as well was a nice feeling.”
By participating in this event, DiVietro said they are hoping to save lives.
“Maybe someone who has been thinking about suicide saw that there are other people out there experiencing this, and it helped them decide to get help. Or maybe someone’s parents saw our post on Facebook and decided to pay closer attention to something their son or daughter was going through. To me, that’s what this was all about: to let people know this is a serious problem, and that there are resources out there for help if needed,” DiVietro says.
DeVietro was a counselor before he began to teach psychology, and he has seen many cases, especially college students, struggle with depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
DeVietro says, “The statistics are mind boggling: One person commits suicide in the US every 12 minutes.”
According to DiVietro, no one is “safe” from suicide. It affects us all, no matter what culture, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and orientation. There are resources out there if needed for students, and this is something we should all be taking seriously.
According to DoSomething.org, around two thirds of people who commit suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths. Depression that is untreated, undiagnosed or ineffectively treated is the number 1 cause of suicide.
Bach wants people to know that suicide is serious, and it affects more than just the victim. “That person’s friends, family, classmates, coworkers, etc. are left behind and they suffer. Younger kids are being exposed to this sort of culture where suicide and depression is idolized and I don’t think it’s right to take this subject lightly.”
If you have a friend or loved one talking about suicide, call the suicide hotline and get more information to get your friend help, or even talk to a counselor. Don’t leave it unnoticed: get them help immediately.
Schoonveld says that suicide is a problem and it shouldn’t be. Talk to people and get help immediately.
“This isn’t something you have to deal with by yourself,” DeVietro says.
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