Life is Worth the Walk, a suicide prevention group on campus, began at the 2011 Out of the Darkness Walk in San Francisco.
Cindy Marks, Nursing major, and Sharon Schultz, American River College alumni, participated in the event that year along with Pegg Scott, a psychology professor.
Marks and Schultz brought the idea for the group and its name forward to Scott, and it has been up and running since.
“If you’re just having a bad day come and talk,” said Scott.
Students also have the option of dropping into the counseling office and will be seen immediately in the event of a crisis.
The office can be found behind the administrative building on College Oak Drive.
“Students can drop in anytime and we generally tend to get a few people per week, and a lot of students during certain times of the year like finals,” said counselor Reyna Moore.
ARC student John ‘Chance’ Wheeler committed suicide a day before the spring semester began.
Most suicide help centers require that one has been previously diagnosed with a mental illness. TLCS is a private, non-profit psychosocial rehabilitation agency that does not have such requirements, and offer services to any individual in Sacramento county who is at least 18-years-old. They can provide transportation via taxi for those in need.
The meeting for Life is Worth the Walk is held the first Thursday of every month in Davies Hall room 111 and the 3rd Thursday of each month during club day festivities at 12:15-1:15 p.m.
Their Club Day events averages about 30 or so individuals who come to participate.
The president of the group, Melanie Martinez is a psychology major.
“It brings me joy seeing old clients and friends and renewed strength and courage in remembering those lost,” Martinez said.
Scott says that people help themselves by helping others.
There is a strong correlation between suicide and mental illnesses since the strongest risk factor is depression, according to SAVE, or Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.
“There’s a huge stigma with mental health illnesses,” Scott said.
There are flyers for all of the local help resources. They can be found in the behavioral and social sciences located on the third floor of Davies Hall.
Some helpful tips on what to do when confronted with someone who is suicidal or experiencing depression comes from Julian Strobe, psychology major at American River who is an active worker for The California Youth Crisis Line.
“Firstly, stay calm and don’t freak out, they are still the same person that you love. Secondly, empathize with them and do whatever you can to have them remove themselves from a potential dangerous area or environment,” said Strobe.
Some other helpful tips that Strobe said were particularly important to emphasis included making sure to never devalue or undermine how the person is feeling and to began asking them about their life and loved ones and concentrating on taking the focus off of suicide.
Life is Worth the Walk is sponsoring TLCS at Welcome Day Event Thursday, February 12 from 10am to 2pm, in front of ARC’s Student Center.