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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST programs to host events for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Eva Bowler

This article contains discussion of suicide and death.

According to the CDC, suicide has been one of the leading causes of death since the early 2000s. To provide support and inform students on the topic, Texas State is hosting multiple events to recognize and promote suicide prevention.

Static Chair Displays

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) will be creating a static chair display from Sept. 4-10 at the Rec and LBJ Student Center. Several chairs will be ribboned with purple and teal to represent suicide awareness and provide data on different populations of suicide, including age groups, ethnicities, the LGBTQIA community and much more. 

The intent to start hosting more events like the static chair display sprang when members of ODS like Harlan Ballard, the outreach coordinator for ODS, found students wanting more knowledge and a safe space to discuss suicide. 

“Prior to 2020, our office did not have any sort of display and recognition of September as Suicide Awareness month and I know of no other office that did that,” Ballard said. “We saw a lot of students who would have conversations about someone that they know who had committed suicide or some of them even spoke about some suicidal thoughts that they had, so we saw that there was a need to bring awareness and that’s what our office does.”

To learn more about ODS, go to www.ods.txst.edu


Tablings at the LBJ Student Center

In a collaborative effort, ODS is partnering with the University Health Services, Counseling Center and the School of Social Work and Professional Counseling to feature how each program is resourceful for students. The tablings will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 5-8 at the LBJ Student Center’s HUB area.

Richard Martinez, a senior psychologist for the Counseling Center, believes that students becoming aware of available resources will allow them to tackle the intense topic of mental health.

“For a lot of our students, there’s still a stigma related to mental health and seeking help, asking for help,” Martinez said. “So there’s a lot of resources not just within the Counseling Center, but also amongst faculty, staff and other students. We’re all here for one another.”

If students are unable to visit the tablings, Martinez recommends they become more aware of TimelyCare, a 24/7 virtual mental health service for Texas State students. TimelyCare offers services free of charge for students, including scheduled counseling, health coaching, basic needs support and much more. 

To learn more about resources like TimelyCare, go to www.counseling.txst.edu/make-an-appointment/crisis-urgent-support


Panel Discussion: “Teen and College Suicide: A Serious Matter”

The final event for Suicide Prevention Awareness month will be the panel discussion “Teen & College Suicide: A Serious Matter” from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 at LBJSC 3-21.3. 

The panel discussion, focusing on suicides from young adults, was created by Eraldo “Dino” Chiecchi, a professor for the School of Mass Communications and Journalism. In May, Chiecchi published his book “Josue: A Young Man’s Life Lost to Suicide” which focused on Josue “Josh” Legarda, a 14-year-old boy from El Paso that died by suicide. 

After interviewing family members, friends and people that were touched by Legarda, Chiecchi’s next mission was to spread awareness on the unawareness of teen suicide to Texas State. 

“Young people die daily in America of suicide,” Chiecchi said. “Annually, you can’t put your arms around that number because it is too big, so that’s why I wrote about one, because you can focus on Josh. He is emblematic of this scourge that people don’t understand. Josh had no signals other than the texts that he sent that night. There was no indication whatsoever that Josh was in trouble. Zero.”

Soon after the panel discussion, Chiecchi plans to travel to Dallas to discuss his book and continue to spread the discussion of teen suicide.

“I want to be talking about this every opportunity I can,” Chiecchi said. “Because I was so impacted by listening to all these people tell their stories about what a wonderful young man Josh was, and how we’ll never get to know him any better than up to age 14 and that’s really unfortunate. Josh had plans. He wanted to join the Marines. He was going to live with his sister for a while. None of that is going to transpire now.”


To call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline dial 988.

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