Suicide site now helps 110 schools

By Deanna Cabinian

When Jed Satow committed suicide at the age of 20 in 1998, his friends were shocked and asked his parents what could be done to help others in the future.

Satow’s friends and parents decided to create a Web site,, to help those suffering from depression.

Ron Gibori, executive director of and friend of the late Satow, said he and his friends were shocked by Satow’s suicide, and they didn’t know the signs of depression or anything about it. was launched last fall by the Jed Foundation, founded in 2000 by Jed Satow’s parents. The Web site started with 10 universities and has grown to 110, Gibori said.

Universities that participated in the launch included the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and the University of Florida.

Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Eastern Illinois University and St. Xavier University are Illinois schools that currently use the site, Gibori said.

NIU currently is not signed up for’s services. In the meantime, there are a variety of places on campus where students can go for help coping with depression.

One such place is the Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC), located at the Campus Life Building, Suite 200.

Brian Pillsbury, a psychologist at the CSDC, said the CSDC offers services for students suffering from depression.

Students can participate in individual counseling, which gives them a better understanding of what’s making them depressed, Pillsbury said. He also said the CSDC can make referrals to University Health Services if students need medication to help deal with their depression.

There also is a support group called Overcoming Depression and Anxiety, where students can learn behavioral aspects to prevent depression, Pillsbury said. Pillsbury said 14 sessions of counseling are free, but sometimes students are asked to do some testing for a small fee. Pillsbury said he has not heard of

Gibori said usually when students go to a university’s home page, they have to click six or eight times before they find information about counseling services. He said that with Ulifeline, students are connected directly to the university’s counseling centers.

Ulifeline creates customized sites that are university-specific, Gibori said. Students can go to the site and select their college or university and log in using a password provided for them.

“Most university students are unaware of counseling services, and most don’t want to go,” Gibori said.

There are seven main services provides, Gibori said. The site provides a link to counseling services at the student’s university; a diagnostic tool used to screen for depression; a mental health library; a drug interaction checker; a section called “Go Ask Alice,” which deals with common concerns of college students and has answers to frequently asked questions; a database to find information on support centers; and a section called “What Could Be Wrong,” which discusses signs of depression, how to approach people about it and other concerns.

Ulifeline membership is free, Gibori said. He said schools only have to submit their information to Ulifeline, and then it customizes that school’s site for them. Gibori said there currently are 90 sites running, and 20 being worked on.

The CSDC isn’t the only place on campus where students suffering from depression can go. They also can make appointments at University Health Services’ psychiatry clinic.

According to the UHS Web site, the clinic provides psychiatric assessment, follow-up appointments and referrals if necessary. Students should call 753-1311 for an appointment.

The Psychological Services Center, located at the circular building in front of the Psychology/Computer Science building, also offers services for those suffering from depression. This center offers psychotherapy and psychological evaluations, as well as individual and group therapies. Most regular PSC services are free for full-time NIU students.