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E.E. Smith House
The Forgotten Sports
Jun E Caniel
FAYETTEVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENT PRESS
FOR Students, by students
March 28, 2012 • Vol. 3, Issue no. 13
A cry for help
By BaiTon Jamel Green
The number of suicide attempts at Fayetteville State Uni
versity increased from 2010 to 2011. While suicide is the sec
ond leading cause of death for college students nationally, it
is also “100 percent preventable,” according to researchers.
Last academic year (2010-2011), there were eight recorded
suicide threats at FSU. This year alone there were two suicide
threats, and five suicide attempts which led to hospitaliza
tions. The numbers of threats and attempts are roughly equal
Furthermore, all threats and attempts at FSU were recorded
in the months from August to October, according to research
ers from the Center for Personal Development at FSU. It is
unclear why the numbers spiked during those months, but
pressures and stress associated with college, which starts up
in August, seem to coincide with the increase.
The data on suicide attempts at FSU was presented to the
Board of Trustees at its March 22 meeting.
The national issue of suicide is a controversial topic that
is sweeping colleges and universities across the nation. The
average number of suicides on college campuses is 1,100 an
nually, making it the second leading cause of death among
college students, according to researchers.
“Thankfully we [at FSU] have not lost a student to suicide
in quite some time, but we do know that colleges all over the
country are facing increased numbers of students with more
severe mental health problems entering college as a result of
easier access to psychiatric medications,” according to Dr.
Samantha Daniel, an assistant professor in FSU’s psychology
In response, the FSU Center for Personal Development
and the Department of Psychology are partnering to create a
comprehensive suicide prevention program, which includes
student screening and faculty training, Daniel said.
Daniel and four other faculty members in FSU’s Depart
ment of Psychology, including Dr. Mei-Chuan Wang, Dr.
Laura Coyle, Dr. Kimberly Tran, and Dr. Pius Nyutu received
a grant from the Morehouse School of Medicine’s HBCU
Center for Behavioral Excellence to provide training to fac
ulty to counteract suicide attempts. Morehouse partners with
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,
SAMHSA, a national organization created to lower the inci
dence of suicide and enhance services for individuals strug
gling with depression, substance abuse, and other behavioral
health problems that put them at risk of suicide.
The term “Suicide Gatekeeper” was used to illustrate the
responsibilities of those who will later receive the training and
utilize their skills in the FSU community. Training sessions
began earlier this year and have included residence life staff
as well as other FSU faculty and staff.
“The goal is to train 250 influential students, faculty, and
staff to recognize signs of distress and respond appropriately
to students at risk of suicide or experiencing mental health
issues,” Daniel said.
Confidential depression screenings will be offered to stu
dents during FSU’s health fair on April 20, according to
FSU’s Center for Personal Development. After the screenings,
students will receive immediate feedback and encouraged to
seek assistance to address their concerns.
FSU’s Division of Student Affairs and University College,
Division of Academic Affairs are also partnering in the sui
cide prevention initiative.
In other business. Board of Trustee member Terence
Murchison informed the board about an upcoming perfor
mance review of the chancellor by an outside consultant.
Also, FSU is forging a partnership with Massachu
setts Institute of Technology and Oakridge University to pro
vide FSU students with internship opportunities in the area
of national security. Three students are currently interning at
MIT and two students are interning at Oakridge. On April 2,
FSU will hold a national security symposium.
The board also heard a presentation about what is
being called the “Millennial Mile,” a university project to buy
properties between FSU and downtown Fayetteville to en
hance exposure to the university. The old Washington Drive
school site has already been demolished as part of the project
and other properties on Murchison Road are being evaluated
for demolition and eventual expansion.