UT Tyler discusses mental health with Suicide Awareness Walk

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The University of Texas at Tyler hosted a Suicide Awareness Walk Wednesday to draw attention to the issue and mental health.

September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Month and with classes and school campuses still working on getting back to normal, both UT Tyler faculty and students felt the need to come together and facilitate a safe place to talk again.

“I came here, and my life turned around quite a bit,” says Dr. Terry Britt, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at UT Tyler. “It’s a personal issue for me because I had my own struggle with depression and suicide ideation for almost four decades from multiple childhood traumas.

Britt added that given how the pandemic turned out, it truly has escalated the issue of suicide across the U.S.

The focus of this awareness walk was to give students, faculty and staff a chance to reconnect with themselves, the outdoors, seeking resources and finding comfort in others sharing their stories.

“One of the resources that we just launched, actually a couple of days ago, was My SSP. It’s a new app and literally students can download it on their phone. They can watch workout videos, they can have phone calls with counselors and Zoom sessions. A big thing we’ve changed since COVID is we’ve been able to reach students in a different way,” says Taylor Clark, a counselor at UT Tyler.

UT Tyler has developed “Wellness Wednesdays” which are catered to encourage students to get out and connect with others.

Britt hopes to continue sharing his personal story and connecting with all his students to let them know there is always someone to talk to.

The East Texas Crisis Center provides crisis intervention services as well as a 24 hour emergency hotline.

For the crisis intervention services call 903-595-5591 and for the 24 hour emergency hotline call 1-800-333-0358.

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