Move underway to reduce number of college suicides

About 1100 college students in the nation take their lives each year, making their suicides the second leading cause of death among that population.

That’s according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, whose Alabama chapter is joined by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in fostering a better awareness and understanding of suicide and depression among college students and other young adults.

Toward that end, the two agencies are providing each public two- and four-year college and university in Alabama a copy of the film, The Truth about Suicide:
Real Stories of Depression in College.

The 27-minute DVD presents a recognizable picture of depression and other problems associated with suicide as experienced by college students.

Alan Weeks, chairman of the foundation’s Alabama chapter, and his wife lost their son to suicide four years ago. Since then the couple have dealt with their pain by reaching out to others and working to educate the public about the national health problem.

The foundation partners with the State Department of Education and the Alabama Private School Association in providing high school counselors across the state a DVD and guide More than Sad: Teen Depression.

Funds for both these projects came from the Alabama Out of the Darkness community walks and from a grant from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. Last year the Birmingham Walk ranked fifth in the nation with 690 walkers and almost $90,000 raised.

Alabama this year will host six such walks across the state. Birmingham’s will be held Saturday, Nov. 7, at Heardmont Park. To learn more, visit www.