A Will to Live

Posted on November 3, 2011 in Articles

Sitting in her parents’ furnace room with a rifle propped between her legs, Natasha Jones wanted an end to the beatings from her father, the pressure from her mother to be thin and the constant bullying at school.

She wanted to die.

“I literally thought my parents hated me,” said Jones, whose name has been changed to protect her identity.

“My dad would hit me, and my mom would tell me I deserved it. Obviously they don’t care if I got hurt. Maybe, I thought (killing myself) was punishment to them.”

Jones was able to walk away from the rifle that night.

She’s one of the 5.7 percent of adults ages 18-29 who have contemplated suicide, according to 2008-09 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pushed to their breaking point by the demands of college life, substance abuse and underlying mental illnesses, among other things, each year about 1,100 American college students commit suicide, Juliette Niemi, the Counseling Center educational program director said.

And almost every year since 2008, an MSU student does too, according to statistics from MSU Police.

As Jones stared down the barrel of her rifle years ago, prepared for the moment the bullet would enter her skull, her phone rang.

A girl from her high school called — the gesture Jones was hoping for.

The sound of a friend’s voice was enough to give her the motivation to live.

Although the numbers of student suicides and suicide attempts at MSU have remained constant in recent years, student activists and counselors are hopeful suicide-prevention methods on campus will help.

Members of Active Minds, a student mental health advocacy group, are working with the MSU Counseling Center to promote mental health among students through free depression screenings and awareness events.

Psychology senior James Dodge, who has struggled with mental illness himself, is the co-president of Active Minds hoping to change the stigma surrounding suicide to help prevent suicides.

“It’s hard to talk about those things even with people you trust,” Dodge said.

“(But) every suicide is a death that is preventable.”

Read the rest of the article at statenews.com

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