The University of Windsor has launched a new, ongoing suicide prevention initiative called It Matters that You’re Here.
Developed by Student Health, Counselling and Wellness Services and brought to life through campus collaborations, the program includes a powerful outreach video featuring many members of the campus community sharing messages of hope, encouraging help-seeking, and giving a voice to the often-unseen pain that individuals living with thoughts of suicide may experience day-to-day.
“Thoughts of suicide can be distressing and isolating. We want anyone who is thinking about ending their life to know that immediate access to care is available and that reaching out for help is always courageous and strong,” says Katie Chauvin, mental health and wellness co-ordinator.
“There are trained professionals on campus and in the community who know how to have conversations about the pain you are experiencing and who want to be there for you. Please reach out.”
A new suicide prevention website has been developed that includes the outreach video, a big red crisis button linking to a collection of crisis supports and emergency resources, information about what it’s like to call a helpline and ideas for how to start the conversation, messages of care from the campus community, skills for coping with distress, downloadable resources, and information about how to be there for each other.
“We encourage all members of our campus to become familiar with this website,” says Chauvin. “It is a resource that can be shared with anyone thinking about suicide and also models supportive language that you can adopt if you are in a conversation with someone experiencing distress.”
Website content will be shared regularly through the Wellness Instagram account @UWindsorWellness and new content will continue to be developed over time.
Additionally, posters across campus will feature the direct question “Thinking about suicide?” alongside messages from the outreach video and a QR code that links to the new website with crisis and emergency resources. These posters are now available for distribution to any department on campus that wishes to display them, with several messages and designs to choose from. New handouts and other resources are also available. To request copies, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“By implementing a year-round, campus-developed suicide prevention initiative with messaging that is direct, compassionate, clinically reviewed, and brought to life by many familiar faces, it is our goal to reach people in new ways, model compassionate language for talking about emotional pain and distress, and open doors to seeking help,” explains Chauvin.
“It is our responsibility as a campus community to care for each other, and It Matters that You’re Here will provide ongoing opportunities to support this commitment. This is a cross-campus effort to make a difference, and we are very grateful to our many collaborators for their involvement in this work.”
If you are thinking about suicide or experiencing distress, click here for crisis resources.
“What you’re experiencing matters and you deserve support,” Chauvin says.