Marshall University Counseling Center makes effort to spread awareness, help students during National Suicide Prevention Month


Anh Do

During National Suicide Prevention Month, flags placed on Marshall’s campus represent the number of suicides that occur on college campuses each year.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students in the U.S. 1,100 is the average number of suicides that occur on campuses each year. At Marshall University, the stigma is closer than some may think.

Candace D. Layne, director of the Counseling Center, said the center is having a suicide crisis every week.

“We do have students on campus that have experience with suicidal ideation,” Layne said. 

The death of a loved one has never been easy to get over, and it is even harder when it comes to death by suicide. A person who dies by suicide leaves behind “suicide survivors”– people who have lost someone they deeply care about and are always left grieving, which is especially intense.

Frankie Ta, a student at Marshall, said it was a difficult time for him when his friend took her life. 

“Personally, I had a friend that killed herself back when I was a senior in high school,” Ta said. “It caused me a lot of stress, depression and sadness that I had within myself. I felt like I could’ve been there for her, and maybe if I was there for her, I could’ve done something.”

Suicide is a topic that has been avoided and misjudged. It could be difficult to recognize the warning signs, as there is no face to depression or suicide, according to Layne. 

“Sometimes, it’s hard to know what is going on inside a person,” Layne said. “That’s why we provide QPR – a suicide prevention training course. One of the first thing that QPR said to do is ask questions. Sometimes, it could be a difficult question about a person’s mood, their functioning or plainly just suicide. But it encourages us to open up more conversations and that alone can help reduce the stigma.”

In the month of National Suicide Prevention Month, Marshall University’s Counseling Center has put effort into preventing suicide. The center provides training courses and outreach activities to raise awareness among the campus community and to help students struggling emotionally and with suicidal ideation.

Throughout campus, a lot of signs with sayings such as “Stop the stigma,” “We are here for you” and “You can do it” have been put up in an attempt to reach out and connect more people.

“On Buskirk Field, there are a bunch of flags over there. Those flags are going to represent the number of suicides that occur on college campuses each year,” Layne said. “Students, faculty and staff or even community members can come and write a name of a person that has been lost to suicide on one of the flags.”

For anyone who is having suicidal ideation or who is worried about someone who may be struggling, there are resources: 

— Marshall University’s Counseling Center offers walk-in appointments on the first floor of Prichard Hall. 

— The phone number of the Counseling Center is 304-696-3111, and the email is [email protected]. 

— National Suicide Prevention Lifeline– 1-800-273-TALK (8255),

— Prevent Suicide West Virginia– 304-415-5787,

Phuong Anh Do can be contacted at [email protected].