Suicide prevention seminar scheduled

Suicide prevention seminar scheduled

by Vista Kalipa

Simpson College has not had a suicide since the 1980s, but the issue of suicide has been around for a number of decades and it hits college campuses across America.

A workshop designed to discuss the issue of suicide prevention will be brought to the Simpson campus by Craig Peck, campus counselor, together with the office of Residence Life on Feb. 18 in Camp Lounge.

Dr. John Westefeld, guest speaker, holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from University of North Carolina. He is currently a professor of counseling psychology in the Ph.D. program that is offered at the University of Iowa.

“Dr. Westefeld is particularly interested in suicide among college students and its impact on college campuses,” said Peck.

According to Peck, the common risk factors to have particularly urged Simpson students are; depression, alcohol and drug abuse, severe family-dysfunction, relationship decay, financial hardship and social isolation.

The workshop is tailored to help students deal with these factors. It is mainly to help students prevent imminent suicides from occurring.

Although there hasn’t been a suicide at Simpson, “there have been a few attempts in the last five plus years that I have been a counselor here at Simpson,” said Peck.

“Suicide rarely, if ever, claims only the deceased as a victim. Family, friends and other loved ones are left behind to grieve and to struggle with questions such as, ‘How could this have been prevented?’ and ‘Was there something I did that contributed to his/her decision to commit suicide?'” said Peck.

According to Jim Thorius, dean of students, students are provided support from the college.

“Decisions regarding the status of a student who is experiencing physical or mental health related difficulties are made on a case by case basis with the consultation of appropriate professional assistance,” said Thorius.

“When there is a serious threat to the health or safety of a student, a family member is usually contacted.”

For more information regarding the issue of suicide, there are two workshops scheduled for Feb. 18. The first workshop, aimed to attract students, will run from 12:15 p.m until 1:15 p.m. The second, specially aimed at targeting administration, faculty and staff, will run from 3:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Both of these workshops will be held in Camp Lounge.