Based on the vaccination data submitted by students and employees, we have created – in collaboration with offices and departments across campus – comprehensive policies and procedures that will be in place throughout the Fall 2021 semester to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our community and on our experience as Chargers.
Students Reflect on Impact of University’s Suicide Prevention Policy Summit
Hosted by the School of Health Sciences and WeEmbodyLab, the University’s public health research group, the Suicide Prevention Policy Summit brought together the University community, local lawmakers, and medical professionals to discuss suicide prevention strategies.
To discuss approaches to addressing this public health issue in Connecticut, the University of New Haven convened a Suicide Prevention Policy Summit that brought together students, faculty, local lawmakers, and healthcare professionals.
In his keynote speech, Frank Fortunati, MD, JD, the medical director of Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, presented a three-step method to reduce suicide, which included limiting access to lethal means, broadening school screenings for mental health, and focusing on building resiliency within youth. He also emphasized that as a society, steps must be taken to remove the stigma associated with mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, which can lead to people taking their own lives.
Madelon Baranoski, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, proposed strategies such as socially condemning and criminalizing cyberbullying, instituting "tech free time," volunteering, and developing mentoring opportunities to reduce the risk of suicide within our communities.
"After attending this event, we are better able to recognize the signs that someone may exhibit when they need help."Katie Gray ’23 and Jayden Hyacinthe-Keeley ’22
In her presentation, Lillie Macias, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the University of New Haven, revealed that risk factors for suicide differ depending on one’s gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Prevention efforts, therefore, must be both universal and individualized.
When sharing the tragic story of losing his oldest daughter at the age of fifteen, Matthew Riley, chief operating officer of Jordan Porco Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention, discussed the devastating impact his daughter’s death had on his family. He emphasized that behind the suicide statistics are real people. He stressed the importance of change, including passing legislation to support suicide preventions policies.
His story really moved us because we were able to feel the pain in his voice. We learned that suicide can impact anyone, such as a friend, coworker, classmate, or even a family member. After attending this event, we are better able to recognize the signs that someone may exhibit when they need help.
Each speaker stressed the importance of not only maintaining the health of the individual, but also the health of the community. As State Senator James Maroney stated, "This is the start of the conversation, not the end of one."
Suicide is becoming an increasingly serious issue amongst our generation. Unfortunately, most of us will likely lose someone we know to suicide at some point in our lives. Events such as the Suicide Prevention Policy Summit are what our generation and our country need. Talking about suicide and depression, letting people know that it is okay to seek help, and that they are not alone is how we begin to put an end to this epidemic.