Make a difference, save a life

January 5, 2018

By Kristi E. Bussell, MPH
Assistant Director for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Initiatives
Student Health Services

Why Get Involved?

 Why do people choose to invest their resources (time, money, etc.) in organizations, issues, causes, institutions, and other entities? One reason may be because those external forces affect them or someone in their social circle. For example, a father may join a parent-teacher committee at the local elementary school once his child begins attending there. Similarly, someone volunteers at the nearby American Cancer Society chapter upon hearing about a friend’s lung cancer diagnosis and is consequently moved to action. Choosing to invest personal resources in some cause may be directly influenced by one’s perceived proximity to the matter at hand.

People’s perceived proximity to a problem is fundamental in regards to whether or not they will take action. Why? Because unless they realize that the issue is all around them – with its severity and actuality manifested before their very eyes –  motivation to help may be low. That’s why awareness and skill building are important aspects of community suicide prevention.

On a national scale, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death[1]; The American Association of Suicidology found that 50% of Americans have been impacted by this issue[2]. In South Carolina, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death, with an average of one person dying by suicide every 12 hours[3]. Suicide is also the second leading cause of death among college students[4]. Even here at Clemson University, the community does not remain unaffected by this issue. According to the most recent National College Health Assessment survey, about 6.6% of Clemson students contemplated suicide in 2016.

What Can Be Done?

Thankfully, suicide can be prevented. The aforementioned statistics are not meant to paralyze people, but instead are intended to lay a foundation for suitable action. Suicide prevention is a cause that you can get involved in because it likely affects you in some way. Here at Clemson University, faculty, staff, and students can become suicide prevention advocates.

“Tigers Together to Stop Suicide Advocacy Training” is a 90-minute workshop that will enhance your knowledge, awareness, and skills concerning suicide among college student. Additionally, the trainers will emphasize the development of empathic listening skills, communication skills, and the capacity to compassionately and directly ask about suicidal thoughts. The goal of the workshop is equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to help someone at risk by asking about suicide and then connecting them with resources. The skills learned can be used to support any person at risk, not just students.

Suicide prevention advocacy skills are necessary for everyone, because everyone is likely impacted by this issue. Become an advocate today. Sign-up HERE for the next Tigers Together Advocacy Training on February 1, 2018. Additionally, request the training for a group HERE.

[1] Suicide Statistics — AFSP. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2017, from

[2] American Association of Suicidology. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2017, from

[3] State Fact Sheets – AFSP. (n.d.) Retrieved December 18, 2017, from

[4] American Association of Suicidology. (n.d.). College Students & Fact Sheets 2016 Fact Sheet. Retrieved December 19, 2017, from


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