A Community of Caring: Suicide Prevention Awareness
By Marie Jacinto
You may have noticed the bright yellow bench on the Bayou Greensway near the College of Sciences & Technology building. With a plaque promoting suicide prevention, that bench is a physical reminder of the work being done on our campus every day to improve the mental health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff.
UHD is a community that cares and understands that no one should suffer in silence, especially when help is readily available. Over the last year, UHD has expanded its counseling services with six full-time counselors, and there is no limit of the number of counseling sessions that they may provide per student.
Suicide prevention itself starts with awareness. At 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, on the outdoor patio of the CST building, UHD Counseling Services will have a brief ceremony to dedicate the bench, which was donated by Josh’s Benches for Awareness—a nonprofit committed to suicide prevention and awareness. The Gator Community is invited to learn more about promoting mental well-being.
The first Poppy’s Run for Life, created to honor those who have died by suicide and to raise funds and awareness about suicide and mental health resources, will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 26. Although the race is not directly affiliated with UHD, the run will go through campus and provides another way to support suicide prevention. The run starts and finishes at Hennessy Park, 1900 Lyons Avenue, and participants may walk, jog, or run the 5K (3.1 mile) run. All proceeds will fund suicide-prevention programs at the Montrose Center and Alexander JFS Houston. Register at www.poppysrunforlife.com. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poppy’s Run for Life was founded by Dr. Caryn Honig, whose grandfather, "Poppy," died by suicide in 1982. Last year, her father, also "Poppy," died by suicide. Completely devastated by the loss, Honig, her family, loved ones, friends, and community wanted to bring greater awareness to suicide. They know they are not alone in their grief. Suicide rates are on the rise in the U.S. and is a leading cause of death with almost 50,000 deaths in 2020, representing about one death every 11 minutes. The number of people who attempt or think about suicide is even higher. Suicide affects the health and well-being of surviving family, friends, co-workers, loved ones, and the community.
Enrolled UHD students seeking counseling may call 713-221-8121 or email UHDCounseling@uhd.edu to schedule an appointment. For more information, visit Student Counseling Services. A 24-hour hotline for UHD employees is 888-993-7650 through the Deer Oaks Employee Assistance Program.
The most important thing to remember is that suicide is preventable, and help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (#988; https://988lifeline.org/) is an excellent resource on suicide-prevention awareness.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students, boasts more than 64,000 alumni, and offers 46 bachelor’s degrees, 11 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences & Technology. For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution, and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.