Active Minds, Ben Gordon Center to offer services and events for Suicide Prevention Week

By Felix Sarver

Active Minds and the Ben Gordon Center are offering services and events during National Suicide Prevention Week, which goes through Saturday.

The Active Minds chapter at NIU is sponsoring walks at St. Charles and Rockford called “Here for Life!” Saturday to raise money for suicide prevention.

Active Minds is a national student-run organization that was founded by Alison Malmon after her brother committed suicide on a college campus, said Anne Kubal, clinical psychologist for the Counseling and Student Development Center and advisor for the NIU chapter of Active Minds. The organization works on campus to prevent suicide and treat people who may be suicidal.

The Counseling and Student Development Center, located at the Campus Life Building Suite 200, also helps students who show signs of suicidal behavior.

“We do different presentations for different groups on campus, talk with residential directors and professors to look for risk factors and signs,” Kubal said.

The center offers individual and group counseling. Walk-in appointments are taken between 11:00 a.m and 3:30 p.m.

Other services offered to students who are depressed or suicidal are the Psychological Services Center at the Psychology/Math Building 86, the Family Center of NIU at Wirtz Hall 146, and the Counseling Lab at Gabel Hall 200, Kubal said.

“The whole point of counseling is talking with students and having students and counselors work together to find out what the problem is,” Kubal said.

While the Family Center for NIU is not planning any events for Suicide Prevention Week, they do provide their own unique treatment for campus residents suffering from stress and suicidal ideation by helping them to focus on relationships and helping the community. The center believes human problems are best understood from a wider social context, according to the Family Center’s website.

“We try to help students by looking at how relationships are causing the problems and how relationships may also solve problems,” said Joe Bozic, graduate student therapist at the Family Center.

While the center may offer counseling sessions for individuals they also try offer group counseling sessions to strongly support students in need, Bozic said.

The Ben Gordon Center, located at 12 Health Services Drive, offers free screenings and walk-in emergency treatments for people who are suicidal and depressed for Suicide Prevention Week.

“We want people to know that treatment is available and that there are people who can help,” said Michael Flora, president and CEO of the Ben Gorden Center.

Suicide has become the leading cause of death among people aged 15-24 and the second leading cause of death among people aged 25-34, Flora said.

The center offers wellness and education services for families in the communities and for people who are suicidal or depressed. The center also offers a Crisis Hotline, 1-866-BGC-0111, that is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.