As part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, mental health leaders at George Mason University educate the campus community on issues surrounding suicide and mental health, encourage Patriots to participate in suicide prevention, and help others at risk. We want to help and help change the conversation about suicide.
College brings with it the excitement of increased freedom and the potential anxiety associated with adjusting to living away from home, studying, and defining one’s identity. It can trigger depression as well as emotional distress. These feelings can lead to suicidal ideation and behavior, and can create tremendously dangerous connotations if help is not sought.
COVID has begun to normalize the mental health conversation, but the public stigma around suicide can keep people from getting the help they need. One dangerous myth is that asking someone about suicidal thoughts will lead them to that behavior. Jennifer Curler, Director of Masons Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
“But it’s not,” said Curler. When talking about suicide with a focus on overcoming notions and using positive, hopeful and inspiring language, these conversations can be very beneficial and prevent suicide.
Mason provides mental health resources and suicide prevention tools for students through many resources including: MasonCARES Suicide Prevention Programis designed to train faculty, staff, and students on how to respond to individuals who may be experiencing distress or suicidal ideation, and to guide them in seeking appropriate assistance through CAPS. 2 hour gatekeeping program.
If someone shows signs of behavior such as Anxiety, articulating a lack of purpose, stating feelings of being trapped or hopeless, not attending classes, withholding activities, experiencing mood swings, etc. These may be warning signs of suicide. .
CAPS provides immediate and free assistance to students. There is no claim office and no insurance is required. The first appointment is virtual and the provider works with the student to find a preferred method of treatment going forward.
Kahler added that the support students receive from CAPS is confidential and kept separate from their academic records.
Another option for students is Mason psychological service center, evidence-based, accessible, affordable, and culturally sensitive treatment and testing services delivered by Mason graduate students under clinical supervision. Other services include emotional support lines and brief intervention sessions.
One of the Center’s goals is clinician training. Evidence-based treatment incorporating suicide screening. This type of treatment allows the individual to “Become your own therapist, armed with lifelong skills such as the ability to effectively solve problems, evaluate thoughts, manage strong emotions, and communicate in a way that others will listen.
If you have concerns about your ability to keep yourself or others safe, call us Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm or Wednesday from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm Contact CAPS at 703-993-2380 during
For after hours mental health crises, call 703-993-2380 and select option 1 to connect with a crisis counselor.
Other suicide prevention or mental health resources can be found at After-hours crisis response page.