Auburn University educates community on suicide prevention

Published: Oct. 9, 2016 at 11:59 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2016 at 12:32 AM EDT
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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - AUBURN, AL (WTVM) – About 1,100 college students die each year as a result of suicide.

It is the second leading cause of death among college students and the tenth leading cause of death among all age groups.

On Saturday, Auburn University hosted the third annual "Out of the Darkness" to shine a light on suicide prevention.

Auburn University's 2015 Miss Homecoming Taylor Wesley has used her campaign platform "Wellness with Wesley" to fight the social stigma of mental illness.

"It is something I personally went through" says Wesley. "I am currently in recovery for alcohol addiction. Through that entire experience of addiction and recovery, I dealt with a lot of mental health issues."

Wesley encourages others to reach out and seek help if they are struggling with a mental illness.

"This is us coming together as a community and walking out of the darkness together," Wesley said.

Auburn University Counselor Dustin Johnson, Ph.D., explains suicide has several warning signs that people can watch for.

"People talk about feeling hopeless, helpless, not really wanting to be here anymore, they give away possessions or they isolate themselves a good bit, just notice some big changes in their behavior," Johnson said. 

Resources are available for those dealing with mental illness and thoughts of suicide. Individuals can use the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline by calling (1800-273-8255) or texting the word "BRAVE" to 741741.

Other resources for those struggling with mental illness or thoughts of suicide can be found at the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website, or Auburn University's Student Counseling Services

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