February 7, 2024

R.A.C.E. Against Suicide: UBian Student Leaders as Gatekeepers to Suicide

Other Posts

The college years are often portrayed as a time of self-discovery, new friendships, and academic growth. However, beneath the surface, many students grapple with the silent struggle of depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. The pressures of academic performance, social expectations, peer pressure, and even parental pressure are the primary causes of depression in young adults. Recognizing the urgent need for prevention efforts in schools, the University of Baguio’s Center for Counseling and Student Development (CCSD), in collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) rolled out for the second time an equipping activity to address suicide awareness and prevention. The activity primarily anchored on the thrust of UNILAB, Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association (PGCA), and the #Project Wasdinsumya of the University of the Philippines-Baguio to equip individuals such as students to help address the growing concern about suicide. The activity was held last January 30,2024 at the University of Baguio Alumni AVR from 8:00 in the morning to 12:00 noon. Thirty-three (33) student leaders, representing the different student organizations in the UBian community were able to attend.

The workshop was essentially composed of two sessions facilitated by Ms. Leny Estacio, RGC, and Ms. Shaira Jane L. Salingbay, LPT, RPM. For the first part of the workshop, the University of Baguio CCSD members and the participants delved into the topic of suicide in schools and how the pandemic (Covid-19) permanently changed the perspective of each and everyone in terms of mental health. The session tackled the early warning signs that may be associated with suicide among the students. The student leaders also gave some insights into what possible signs their peers might inadvertently be showing. This part of the workshop helps the student leaders, or the Gatekeepers, to be more equipped when it comes to these critical situations. It also discussed the Republic Act 11036, the “Mental Health Law,” to further explain to the participants that suicide is a global health problem, and even the government is supplementing a law to address it. Before ending the first part of the workshop, Ms. Shai shared some fruitful words with the students: “It takes a community to save lives,” to which the participants wholeheartedly agreed.

The second part of the workshop mainly focused on how to race against suicide. The main topics were about managing students who are at risk of suicide and how to talk about suicide. Part of the session was the presentation of the Columbia Suicide Severity Scale (C-SSRS), which the student leaders can refer to when dealing with students who choose to approach them regarding their mental-health-related concerns. Furthermore, the participants were also reminded to take care of themselves as a means of handling personal stress from being a co-helper of Mental Health Professionals. Both sessions had an online assessment and a case simulation was also carried out towards the end of the training-workshop.

The collaborative endeavor of the different offices involved displays the mutual dedication to give students’ mental health and wellness the utmost importance. By providing essential knowledge and skills to student leaders, this program has paved the way for better suicide prevention in the represented schools and creating a mentally resilient UBian community.

Written by Nathaniel C. Vargas, UB Peer Facilitator (BSMLS-3)

Features &