Suicide prevention week

by Paula Polglase


white board with text The numbers are powerful.  According to the James Madison University Counseling and Student Development Center 1,100 college students die by suicide every year.  In 2010, suicide was the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds.  College-aged youths are the highest to have reports of death by suicide in this age group.

 “We can make a difference,” said Katrina Simpson-McCleary, Psy. D., staff psychologist at the CSDC.  “The reality is that 90 percent of those that die by suicide have a mental health disorder - most often unrecognized or untreated depression.  The good news is that the majority of people who struggle with mental health issues can benefit from treatment.”

JMU will focus on suicide prevention during National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 8–14.  CSDC is co-sponsoring events along with a number of student organizations including Active Minds, LGBT & Ally Education Program, Madison Equality and Tae Kwon Do Club.

“When universities recognize mental health issues and particularly suicide prevention, they are making a statement to the entire community that speaking up when you or someone you know is in distress is welcomed and encouraged,” said Maggie Bertram, senior program manager of student-led initiatives at Active Minds, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of raising awareness about mental health and mental health issues. 

Bertram will present a talk titled “Challenging our Assumptions and Moving Forward Together” on Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall Auditorium. 

Other events during the week include a screening of Dead Poets Society on Sept. 10 and the Symbols of Hope Quilt from the Walk for Hope will be on display on The Commons and at the Festival Conference and Student Center at various times during the week.

“This week of events at JMU communicates that seeking help for mental health is a community value and opens up an important conversation about an issue that impacts all of us,” said Bertram.

For event details see

Follow JMU Counseling & Student Development Center's Facebook page for the most up-to-date information on JMU's National Suicide Prevention Week events.


September 6, 2013

Published: Friday, September 6, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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