Suicide prevention placed into the spotlight

Photo by Jenny Pacanowski

Pictured is The LCCC Cougar Mascott, Kameron Falgout and Derrick Falgout and other participants at the 2019 LCCC Out of Darkness, American Suicide Prevention Foundation walk.

A young woman laying in a bathtub with slit wrists, a man in camouflage puts a gun to his head, a young person wearing black swallows’ pills in the bathroom; the stigma surrounding suicide prevents those in need from seeking help.

Lehigh Carbon Community College is preparing for its 2nd annual suicide prevention walk in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“At LCCC counseling services, we see a lot of students struggling with mental health,” Lauren Falgout, a mental health therapist at LCCC, stated. “Many times suicide comes up in sessions. It’s not only real in Pennsylvania, but real on the LCCC campus.”

Suicide prevention means a lot to Falgout, professionally and personally. In 2019, Falgout followed her passion for saving lives by asking Director of Counseling, Brian Delong, to support her vision to bring the suicide prevention walk to campus. Not only was he open to the idea, but Falgout felt that the school approached suicide prevention with open mindedness and no barriers.

According to the AFSP.org website, Lehigh Valley has one of the highest suicide rates of all of Pennsylvania, with 1 in 5 students on college campuses so stressed they consider suicide. The goal of the walk is to bring awareness to suicide and also provide resources for students, veterans, survivors and those struggling.

Local mental health facilities are signing up to have outreach tables at the walk including the Allentown VA, Crime Victims Council of Lehigh Valley, Turning Point of LV, Bradbury Sullivan Center, Lehigh County Crisis and Intervention, NAMI and Pine Brook Family Answers. Members from the LCCC counseling center will also be in attendance to show their support.

*As of March 10, the walk has been cancelled. Check asfp.org/easternpa to find virtual/online events in order to stay involved.*