SGA talks plans for suicide prevention initiative

Carly Mathews

The Student Government Association is pushing a new campus initiative for suicide prevention programs at WKU.

The idea was discussed between Executive Board members after last semester’s tragedy with student suicide, and there has been a reach for the Senate to support some sort of initiative. Elizabeth Koehler, the SGA administrative vice president and one of the leaders of the initiative, believes that some sort of program regarding suicide prevention is something that WKU should definitely consider.

“After last semester, the issue of student suicide really hit home after seeing how it affected the campus as a whole. This issue has always been in the back of my mind, but last semester’s events really showed that suicide can happen on any campus,” Koehler said.

SGA President Jay Todd Richey said part of the effort will be to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and depression, and that action will need to be taken to help target the issue as early as possible.

“College is hard,” Richey said. “Class, friends, relationships, family members, work; are all things that can help lead a student into depression. Talking about it isn’t enough; there needs to be policies and action in place to prevent this from happening.”

SGA is considering several different ideas for the prevention plan, and the overall idea of the initiative is still in the works within SGA. One idea includes vouchers for students that need financial help with counseling fees. Those resources could be introduced and discussed at M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan.

These programs would be in addition to the services offered by the Counseling and Testing Center along with their online screening for depression.

SGA is also working to publicize the large number of valuable resources available to students on campus and to unify these resources along with the people that are passionate about the issue.

“Depression should be treated as something that is normal, and it should be talked about more widely,” Richey said.

The possible initiative is still in the early stages, and it has not been discussed with the WKU administration so far. However, Richey believes that it will be received well.

SGA is encouraging students to reach out with their ideas about different plans and resources to help those struggling with depression.