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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 7, 2011

University of Iowa sponsors Suicide Prevention Week activities

The University of Iowa's Suicide Prevention Committee will recognize National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 4-10, with the goal of strengthening suicide prevention awareness on campus and in the local community.

The UI will host a presentation by Kevin Hines, author and lecturer on the topic of suicide prevention, and himself a survivor of a suicide attempt. Hines will present "The Truth About Suicide" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, in the second floor ballroom at the Iowa Memorial Union.

Suicide is a major public health concern worldwide, claiming one life every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. In Iowa, suicide rates are higher than the national average and suicide ranks as the third leading cause of injury death according to the "Burden of Injury Report" by the UI Injury Prevention Research Center, based in the UI College of Public Health.

"Suicide doesn't know age or race, economic or social boundaries," said Marizen Ramirez, Ph.D., assistant professor of occupational and environmental health in the UI College of Public Health. "The good news is that suicide is preventable. Our message throughout Suicide Prevention Week is that there's help available for those that need it."

Suicide prevention is particularly important on college campuses. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for college-aged young adults in the United States.

Youth who are contemplating suicide, however, frequently give warning signs of their distress, said Sam Cochran, Ph.D., director of University Counseling Service and co-chair of the UI Suicide Prevention Committee.

"Many people who may consider suicide give warning signs to the people around them -- friends, family, teachers or co-workers," Cochran said. "But many times we don't recognize or know how to act on these signals. When we're committed to making suicide prevention a priority and are empowered to take the correct actions, we can help young people before they engage in behavior with irreversible consequences."

For help with suicidal thoughts and depression, contact the Crisis Center of Johnson County's 24-hour Crisis Line at 319-351-0140, view online resources at:, or call the national suicide hotline number at 800-273-8255.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Sam Cochran, University Counseling Service, 319-335-7294 or Writer: Bill Barker, 319-384-4277,