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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

    Use TXST resources instead of the national suicide lifeline

    Dj Ross

    Editors note: this story contains mentions of suicide.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, suicide is the second highest cause of death among college students.

    Data from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also shows around 24,000 college students attempt suicide, and 1,100 students do not survive their attempt each year.

    When mental health struggles become too much for a person to handle, many Americans are aware of the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

    However, when calling 988, many are greeted with a waiting period rather than being prioritized. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Biden-Harris Administration has invested almost $1 billion to better the hotline. However, many states still struggle to ensure calls are answered locally.

    988 call centers are located throughout the country, and staffing these centers is essential to ensuring the hotline’s usefulness. However, because of low staffing Texas’ answer rate was 75% in April 2023, ranking it among the worst performers. Also, in April 2023 alone, states cumulatively missed over 11,000 calls.

    The good news is that students at Texas State have a better alternative they should utilize: the Counseling Center Crisis/Urgent Support, located right on campus at 601 University Drive.

    Texas State students should utilize campus resources as it is evident the national hotline is not effective enough.

    Dr. Richard Martinez, assistant director and senior psychologist at Texas State’s Counseling Center, said students should contact the center in crisis situations. Calls are directed to someone they can speak to based on their situation.

    “We help provide different catered resources,” Martinez said. “If there’s a student who needs a resource in the community or on campus, we help develop that so that way these individuals and providers are more familiar with that than if you called the national number.”

    One benefit of the national suicide hotline is that it runs 24/7. However, Martinez said there are also options for Texas State students who need help at any time.

    “If students call outside of business hours, there’s a couple of options students can utilize,” Martinez said. “If they call our office number they’ll hear a recording, and if they press option two, they can connect with a counselor for any urgent concerns that cannot wait until the next business day.”

    Martinez also said students should be proactive and reach out when they see a shift in their mental health.

    “If [students] are starting to notice signs or recognize their distress or distress in others, don’t wait, don’t put it off,” Martinez said. “It can be a little bit easier to get back on your feet than if you let things fester.”

    Texas State cares about its students’ mental health. Because of this, the Counseling Center Crisis/Urgent Support is the better choice for students seeking mental health guidance. Unlike the national lifeline, students are prioritized when they call this number. The school’s resources have proven more useful.

    If students are feeling depressed or having thoughts of suicide, they should contact the Counseling Center Crisis/Urgent Support by contacting the Counseling Center at 1-512-245-2208 and press option two if it is after hours (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). If a student’s life is in immediate danger, they should call 911 immediately. Texas State students don’t have to be alone.

    -Emma Hall is a journalism sophomore

    The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor in Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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