Texas A&M: Texas A&M University Unites To Promote Suicide Awareness, Prevention

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Texas A&M University will mark its sixth annual “Not Another Aggie: Suicide Awareness Month” with a new Aggie Football gameday observance of World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) on Sept. 10, uniting thousands of Aggies in support of suicide loss survivors and individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression.

Representatives from the Suicide Awareness & Prevention Office (SAPO) will offer purple-and-teal awareness ribbons and additional resources during the showdown between Texas A&M and Appalachian State University at Kyle Field.

The Centers for Disease Control lists suicide as the 12th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death in people aged 10-34, making suicide awareness and prevention a critical cause at Texas A&M and a natural rallying point for Aggies, said Dr. Santana Simple, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) assistant director of suicide prevention.

“Suicide awareness and prevention really aligns with Aggie core values of who we are how we view ourselves as a university and as an Aggie family,” Simple said.

SAPO historically spearheads Suicide Awareness Month with its founding event: the Suicide Awareness Walk Challenge, a four-week virtual competition hosted in collaboration with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s “Walk Through Texas History” program, which features a virtual route highlighting Texas A&M System schools’ counseling centers and suicide awareness and prevention initiatives.

This year’s Suicide Awareness Month launches with a Sept. 7 kickoff, during which walk participants may march together in support of suicide awareness and prevention. Walk participants may register at howdyhealth.org as soon as Aug. 22 and begin logging miles on Sept. 1.

For Counseling & Psychological Services Director Dr. Mary Ann Covey, the walk’s dual virtual and in-person format combines the best of Suicide Awareness Month with the far-reaching, enduring spirit of Texas A&M.

“It brings together the community in a way that no other event does for suicide awareness,” Covey said. “It’s a way to reach students we previously wouldn’t have reached.”

The Suicide Awareness Month Kickoff will feature wellness-oriented activities, resource tables hosted by campus and community partners, and guest speakers in Rudder Plaza from 6-8 p.m.

Over the course of the month, additional events will include awareness and prevention training opportunities, “Breathe In, Stretch Out” Yoga by Rec Sports at the J. Wayne Stark Galleries, a pinwheel display representing lives lost to suicide by Active Minds, and Coffee with a Counselor.

“It’s not just up to one entity on campus to prevent suicide,” Simple said. “It’s a collective effort, and we want to be able to connect with people wherever we can. Everyone has a responsibility, and people are taking that responsibility to heart.”

The Suicide Awareness & Prevention Office is funded as the single point of coordination for campus-wide suicide prevention efforts by the Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant, first awarded to Texas A&M University Counseling & Psychological Services in 2018 and renewed for another three years in 2021.

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