Tag Archives: suicide

Rousey and the misconceptions of mental health

Ronda Rousey suffered a devastating loss to competitor Holly Holm in November. The once-undefeated Rousey was knocked out in the second round of her fight with Holm, causing her to lose her belt.

The loss came as a shock to sports fans, and many worried Rousey would  never recover. Rousey disappeared from the public eye as she took time to mentally and physically recover.

On February 16th, Rousey made an appearance on Ellen Degeneres’ show. The usually light-hearted talk show took a dark turn when Rousey revealed that following her loss, she had thoughts of suicide. She stated that her boyfriend, Travis Browne, also a UFC fighter, was the one who got her through her suicidal thoughts.

Following her revelation, the internet wasted no time criticizing Rousey. Many were asking why this woman who seemingly had everything would want to harm herself. Despite her loss, Rousey still has fame, fortune and incredible talent, so many felt that it was inappropriate for her to have these feelings.

Rousey discusses mental health. Graphic from MMA Fighting
Rousey discusses mental health. Graphic from MMA Fighting

The criticism that followed Rousey’s admission shows the blatant ignorance surrounding mental health and suicide. If she had actually harmed herself, the same people would be mourning her loss. When Robin Williams died of an apparent suicide this past year, many were heart-broken that someone who brought so much joy to others had suffered in silence. So why aren’t we giving Rousey the same respect?

Athletes are expected to be mentally tough, but the fact that Rousey’s depression has been brushed off by many as “poor sportsmanship” proves that there is a huge misunderstanding of the kind of people who suffer from mental illness or suicidal thoughts.

For Rousey, her title as the Women’s Bantamweight Champion was her entire identity. Some may call it cockiness, but that title was everything that defined Rousey as a fighter. Any time someone suffers a loss that causes their entire identity to come to question, it can be a very tough thing to get over, and athletes are no exception to that.

In my opinion, Rousey’s admission was extremely brave. There are so many people who battle depression and suicidal thoughts. To have someone like Rousey openly admit to experiencing these human emotions can be very empowering for us commoners. Imagine a high school-aged girl who has battled these feelings, hearing someone with such stature admit to feeling those things too. That has to be extremely refreshing to know that you’re not the only person to feel that way, and that no matter how big you get, it’s okay to feel those kinds of things. If someone who suffered such an enormous loss with the whole world watching her can overcome those emotions, who says the average person can’t pull through?

Perhaps it’s true that the bigger you are, the harder you fall. In a time of such devastation and healing, it’s important to lift Rousey up as sports fans, instead of criticizing her for being a normal human being.

[PODCAST] From Our Perspective: Mental Health on Campus

In this installment, the Whim staff talks about mental healthcare on RU’s campus. We voice our concerns about lack of availability or priority placed on some of the most common health concerns for college students today.

Leave a comment with your feedback on this topic or your ideas for future topics and we’ll give you a shout-out in our next From Our Perspective.

The leading killer is ourselves

Many RU students probably noticed a heartbreaking email (if nothing else) indicating the loss of Kristin Greene due to suicide on Oct. 22. Unfortunately, suicide is one of the leading causes of death for college students along with homicide, traffic accidents, and alcohol related accidents.

The most common cause of suicide is untreated depression; other health problems (such as mental illness, physical pain, or substance abuse) can be a factor. Although 1 in 7 Americans are affected by depression and 1 in 5 college students express their depression level is higher than they’d like, less than 10% say that they have or would seek treatment.

DSC_0062
“Unfortunately, suicide is one of the leading causes of death for college students along with homicide, traffic accidents, and alcohol related accidents.” Photo by: Danielle Johnson

Up to half of those who complete suicide have previously attempted it before and males are 75% more likely to die by suicide than females. Statistics show that race and ethnicity play a large role in American suicide rates with Whites being most likely at about 14% of suicides, Native Americans coming in second at about 10%, and other minorities following with only half the statistical likelihood.

While significant research on suicide is available, the warning signs can be hard to see. These signs include talking about suicide or feelings of being trapped, being in pain, or being a burden to others. The person’s behavior may change to include substance abuse, acting recklessly, researching suicide methods, withdrawing from activities and relationships, aggression, giving away possessions or saying goodbye, and abnormal sleep patterns (such as sleeping too much or too little). Anxiety can often be a major cause or symptom of depression and suicidal thoughts. While this may not be as easy to distinguish from stress, it should be taken seriously and dealt with properly in any capacity.

Additionally, it should be noted that those who have had a history of suicide in their family are more likely to be at risk. Those who have lost someone to suicide (no matter the relationship) should also be monitored for suicide warning signs as they too are more likely to consider killing themselves.

In college students, specific signs to look out for are those individuals who are normally good students but suddenly do not complete their work or show up to classes. Friends who suddenly withdraw from regular social activities and relationships, or those students who never had many friends to begin with, are at a higher risk of depression and suicide. Significant changes in weight, diet, or exercise can indicate depression, and those in abusive relationships (whether with family, friends, or a significant other) are at a higher risk.

If you witness any of these signs or feel concerned about another student’s state of mind, don’t take it lightly. Ask them how they are and be a good listener if they choose to open up to you. What a person considering suicide needs more than being talked out of  acting on feelings of self-harm is to have their feelings heard.

If you are concerned, RU urges you to follow these guidelines in order to provide the most effective help:

  •    DO listen and offer support in a non-judgmental way
  •    DO help the person explore feelings
  •    DO widen options and explore alternatives for problem solving
  •    DO ask direct questions about the person’s intentions; ask if the person is considering suicide
  •    DO communicate your concern for the person’s well-being
  •    DO recommend that the person contact a mental health professional
  •    DO call a professional yourself and offer to accompany the person to an initial appointment
  •    DO call the police if you believe the risk of suicide is immediate
  •    DON’T say “everything will be alright”
  •    DON’T dare the person to “do it”
  •    DON’T tell the person about someone who “has it worse”
  •    DON’T promise secrecy to the suicidal person
  •    DON’T leave the person alone if you believe the risk of suicide is imminent

Above all, don’t blame yourself for missing signs in a friend or family member who completes suicide. It isn’t about you or what you could or couldn’t have done. The bottom line is that suicide is usually a symptom of an emotional illness which a person was unable to find suitable treatment for. A person needs to want help in order to receive it.

For more resources on- and off-campus you can reach out to several organizations:

Student Counseling Services are open to any student and sessions are free. You can call 831-5226 to set up an appointment or find them in person to schedule or commit to a walk-in appointment by seeing them in the lower level of Tyler Hall.

Additionally, the following campus departments are willing to assist students in concerns for themselves or others:

  •    The Student Health Center, 831-5111
  •    The Dean of Students Office, 831-6297
  •    The Radford University Police, 831-5500

Finally, if you think someone is in immediate danger of self-harm or harm to others, do not hesitate to call 911 and report it.

The leading killer is ourselves

Many RU students probably noticed a heartbreaking email (if nothing else) indicating the loss of Kristin Greene due to suicide on Oct. 22. Unfortunately, suicide is one of the leading causes of death for college students along with homicide, traffic accidents, and alcohol related accidents.

The most common cause of suicide is untreated depression; other health problems (such as mental illness, physical pain, or substance abuse) can be a factor. Although 1 in 7 Americans are affected by depression and 1 in 5 college students express their depression level is higher than they’d like, less than 10% say that they have or would seek treatment.

DSC_0062
“Unfortunately, suicide is one of the leading causes of death for college students along with homicide, traffic accidents, and alcohol related accidents.” Photo by: Danielle Johnson

Up to half of those who complete suicide have previously attempted it before and males are 75% more likely to die by suicide than females. Statistics show that race and ethnicity play a large role in American suicide rates with Whites being most likely at about 14% of suicides, Native Americans coming in second at about 10%, and other minorities following with only half the statistical likelihood.

While significant research on suicide is available, the warning signs can be hard to see. These signs include talking about suicide or feelings of being trapped, being in pain, or being a burden to others. The person’s behavior may change to include substance abuse, acting recklessly, researching suicide methods, withdrawing from activities and relationships, aggression, giving away possessions or saying goodbye, and abnormal sleep patterns (such as sleeping too much or too little). Anxiety can often be a major cause or symptom of depression and suicidal thoughts. While this may not be as easy to distinguish from stress, it should be taken seriously and dealt with properly in any capacity.

Additionally, it should be noted that those who have had a history of suicide in their family are more likely to be at risk. Those who have lost someone to suicide (no matter the relationship) should also be monitored for suicide warning signs as they too are more likely to consider killing themselves.

In college students, specific signs to look out for are those individuals who are normally good students but suddenly do not complete their work or show up to classes. Friends who suddenly withdraw from regular social activities and relationships, or those students who never had many friends to begin with, are at a higher risk of depression and suicide. Significant changes in weight, diet, or exercise can indicate depression, and those in abusive relationships (whether with family, friends, or a significant other) are at a higher risk.

If you witness any of these signs or feel concerned about another student’s state of mind, don’t take it lightly. Ask them how they are and be a good listener if they choose to open up to you. What a person considering suicide needs more than being talked out of  acting on feelings of self-harm is to have their feelings heard.

If you are concerned, RU urges you to follow these guidelines in order to provide the most effective help:

  •    DO listen and offer support in a non-judgmental way
  •    DO help the person explore feelings
  •    DO widen options and explore alternatives for problem solving
  •    DO ask direct questions about the person’s intentions; ask if the person is considering suicide
  •    DO communicate your concern for the person’s well-being
  •    DO recommend that the person contact a mental health professional
  •    DO call a professional yourself and offer to accompany the person to an initial appointment
  •    DO call the police if you believe the risk of suicide is immediate
  •    DON’T say “everything will be alright”
  •    DON’T dare the person to “do it”
  •    DON’T tell the person about someone who “has it worse”
  •    DON’T promise secrecy to the suicidal person
  •    DON’T leave the person alone if you believe the risk of suicide is imminent

Above all, don’t blame yourself for missing signs in a friend or family member who completes suicide. It isn’t about you or what you could or couldn’t have done. The bottom line is that suicide is usually a symptom of an emotional illness which a person was unable to find suitable treatment for. A person needs to want help in order to receive it.

For more resources on- and off-campus you can reach out to several organizations:

Student Counseling Services are open to any student and sessions are free. You can call 831-5226 to set up an appointment or find them in person to schedule or commit to a walk-in appointment by seeing them in the lower level of Tyler Hall.

Additionally, the following campus departments are willing to assist students in concerns for themselves or others:

  •    The Student Health Center, 831-5111
  •    The Dean of Students Office, 831-6297
  •    The Radford University Police, 831-5500

Finally, if you think someone is in immediate danger of self-harm or harm to others, do not hesitate to call 911 and report it.

Limbaugh’s commentary on Williams’ death & credible news sources

A couple of weeks ago, we lost a legend. Robin Williams was found dead in his home, due to an apparent suicide. Scrolling through Facebook and various other forms of media, it was easy to see that his loss affected everyone in some shape or form. I’ll openly admit, to ugly-crying a few times watching tribute videos.

But, of course, in the sea of praise for Williams, there were also many negative voices. One of those voices belonged to the infamous Rush Limbaugh. In one segment of his radio show, Limbaugh began by reading a question from one of his listeners that asked, “what are the politics in Robin Williams’ death? Limbaugh began to explain that Williams’ death was somehow connected to the “general unhappiness of the left.”

rush-limbaugh-793679
“I was, however, very shocked that Limbaugh would be so trashy and distasteful as to tie a suicide to politics.”

Even though I’m definitely a left-winger, I wasn’t terribly offended by Limbaugh’s comments about how “miserable” the left is. After all, Limbaugh is a right-winger; he doesn’t know my level of happiness. I was, however, very shocked that Limbaugh would be so trashy and distasteful as to tie a suicide to politics. It’s especially offensive that Limbaugh would attack someone who was so very loved and brought nothing but joy to his audience just days after their death. No matter what your political preference is, there’re certain things that should be left unsaid. Suicide has nothing to do with politics. Williams lived a great life, but he was ill. He died of depression, not his political standpoint.

Limbaugh wasn’t only offensive in saying this, but he was also making a very far reach. What makes him think that he can tie two very different things together? Limbaugh has proven over and over again that he isn’t a credible source, though many would argue differently. His opinion is his opinion, but with logic so blurry, I can’t help but wonder how this man was given a platform. With so many talented young professionals looking for jobs, why do we allow this guy to have any platform?

A few people may agree with Limbaugh, which is sad. But why do we continue to give people such as him, or Bill O’Reilly for that matter, a platform? People like Limbaugh and O’Reilly make these far reaches just for the shock factor. But it seems that people believe them just because they have a platform. No matter how big of a platform they have, they may very well have no credibility or anything that makes them qualified whatsoever. The fact that Limbaugh isn’t categorized as a satirist is shocking to me. We need to stop making these people famous, and start looking into what makes a real, credible news source.

Understanding nonsuicidal self-injury

Self-injury, self-mutilation, self-harm, it doesn’t matter what it’s called. It’s the act of intentionally inflicting pain on the body in order to relieve negative feelings or a negative cognitive state, not including social norms such as tattoos, piercings or any self-harm related to religious practices. Continue reading Understanding nonsuicidal self-injury