Campus mental health aid ready for students


Photo by Jesse Johnson

The Mental Health Fair on Sept. 26 outlined some of the resources available to students.

Brad Dress, Reporter

An AACC student attempted to hang himself from a second-floor balcony in the library on Sept. 12, prompting school health officials to emphasize campus resources for suicide prevention.

According to witnesses, a student tied a rope to a railing and stepped onto the balcony near the ledge. He fixed the noose to his neck and leaned forward, while students shouted for him to stop, according to witnesses.

Campus Police Chief Sean Kapfhammer and Sgt. April Davis were on routine rounds in the library at the time and pulled the student from the railing, Kapfhammer said. Anne Arundel County Police escorted the student to a treatment center, he said.

Afterward, counselor from the campus Office of Counseling, Advising and Retention Services offered counseling at the library.

“Students have been impacted; some staff have been impacted by whatever they saw,” Assistant Director of Counseling Patrice Lyons said. “If a student I feeling some emotional distress, they can come over and talk to us.”

The counseling office is on the second floor of the Student Services Center near the bookstore.

AACC President Dawn Lindsay said students and faculty “should know there are people to reach out to— faculty, staff, anybody, and we can see what we can do to help you out.”

Lindsay said this was the only suicide attempt on campus in her five years as president.

Student Government Association President Nick Nadeau called for the campus to continue to offer training for students, faculty and staff about the warning signs of suicide.

He encouraged students to attend free stress counseling workshops on campus and events like the late-September Mental Health Fair, which showcased mental health resources available on campus.

“I was shocked,” Nadeau said of the library incident. “You wouldn’t think anything like this would happen on campus.”

Diane Passero, a licensed clinical professional counselor, said students can help others who seem distressed, using QPR: Question them about their feelings; persuade them to get help; and refer them to the counseling office.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, Passero said, killing 36,000 people in that age group— roughly the population of Annapolis.