How Chapman supports Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month and suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. 

In 2020 alone, there were an estimated 1.20 million suicide attempts, making September a very important month for many. So the question is raised, “What is Chapman doing in support of Suicide Prevention Month?”

In recent years suicide rates have increased, and so has the talk of prevention. Students were shocked to see the suicide prevention hotline number added to the back of their I.D.s. 

Beginning on Oct. 15, 2021 schools had to ensure all I.D.s had a hotline number on them. Adding the hotline to students’ I.D.s gives students immediate access and the crucial support needed. 

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) plans to make South Carolina a Zero Suicide state. The SCDMH says, “We do this through training, awareness, and collaboration…We operate under the firm belief that suicide is preventable, especially when communities are equipped with the knowledge and ability to help individuals struggling with thoughts of suicide.”

At Chapman, we now have a full-time mental health counselor. Lexus Lewis is the school’s first full-time mental health counselor. This is very beneficial for the students because Lewis is at the school five days a week, throughout the school year. 

Lewis works through different problems with students. 

“We go through coping skills,” she said. “I help out when they’re in crisis. Many times I get a lot of high anxiety, so I help people work through those different anxieties by using some of the different skills I have on my board.”

Having a mental health counselor is a huge resource for students and Lewis agrees. 

“Part of me being here is part of that resource, whatever they’re coming in here for, and what’s gonna help them through the day, that’s what I kinda try to provide them with,” she said.

Lewis had this advice to leave for students who may be struggling: 

“Reach out for help. A lot of times I think that feeling is … not wanting to put your problems on others or just feeling as if others may not be helpful. There’s always somebody even an unexpected person that is able to help you through.”