PFW events aim to educate, prevent student suicide

Local News

There are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses every year. It is now the second leading cause of death among college students. That’s why Purdue Fort Wayne is stepping in to help change that trend. 

This week is Suicide Prevention Week, and the university is hosting several events through Friday to educate students and the community about how to prevent suicide in a variety of ways. 

This year’s theme for the week is “Be A Hero, Save A Life,” and that’s what many of the activities boil down to – trying to save lives.

Events earlier in the week focused on peer-to-peer education about the warning signs of suicide, how students can do their part, practicing self-care, reaching out, and spreading the word. 

Another program offered an interactive experience to raise awareness of the importance of communication and how it affects mental health, suicidal thoughts, and the stigma that surrounds suicide. 

Several activities are scheduled for Wednesday as the week continues. 

There will be a Suicide Prevention Resource Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Walb Union International Ballroom and Student Services Complex hallways. Attendees can meet with campus and community leaders while gathering resources on suicide prevention, mental health care education, coping skills, and how to help a friend in need. 

During the resource fair, people will also be able to participate in the Save the Seven Challenge. The activity is in honor of the seven IPFW students lost to suicide in 2015. It tests participants’ knowledge of educational material related to suicide statistics and suicide prevention. 

Another activity on Wednesday is the Suicide Survivor Candlelight Ceremony from 6:30-8:30 p.m. across the Venderly Bridge. 

On Thursday, there is a Walk and Learn event, where attendees will hear about suicide prevention while taking a short walk at Alumni Plaza from 12:15-12:45 p.m. 

The week wraps up with two sessions of Community Partners Against Student Suicide (Project COMPASS) suicide prevention Gatekeeper Training on Thursday and Friday.

Project COMPASS is a comprehensive suicide prevention and health promotion program on campus, that hopes to provide suicide awareness and gatekeeper education and training throughout the campus community. 

Gatekeeper training teaches people how to recognize the warning signs of suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. 

The Thursday session will be in Kettler Hall, Room G83 from 2-5 p.m. Friday’s session is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon in Walb Union, Room G08. Send an email to to register for training.

All events during Suicide Prevention Week are free and open to the public. 

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you can call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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