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Lighting candles in remembrance

By Chantel Vargas 



Lit candles begin to shape out a heart on the patio of the Student Union on Oct. 24 in remembrance of those lost to suicide.
Photo by Jarad Mann/ The Runner


The Candlelight Event on Oct. 24 was put together by the CSU Bakersfield Counseling Center. 

  This event allowed people to dedicate a candle in honor of someone they had lost to suicide. 

  The candles were placed on the ground in the shape of a heart. 

  Suicide is a very taboo subject to talk about. 

  “It’s not really what we want to talk about, but we have to talk about it,” said Eric Lord.

  Lord shared a few suicide statistics with the audience. 

  “The current state of suicide as we know it today is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In California, one person dies by suicide every two hours. There are 25 suicide attempts for every suicide completion. Over 44,000 Americans die each year by suicide, which averages out to 121 suicides per day.”

  Individuals with mental health, like anxiety or depression, are at a higher risk for suicide. 

  Warning signs that an individual is struggling with suicidal thoughts can include noticable behavioral changes. Changes can include reckless behavior, substance abuse, withdrawing from activities, isolation, abnormal sleep patterns, visiting or calling to say goodbye or giving away prized possessions.

  Lord gave an analogy about a room on fire. 

  “If the ceiling, floor, walls are on fire and the only thing not on fire is the door, that door is suicide. That’s what somebody who feels like killing themselves is experiencing, and it’s a very real thing to them,” said Lord.

Leslie Monty is a graduate student intern in the Master Social Work program at Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. 

  Monty works with individuals in crisis who experience various mental health concerns.

  Monty shared her thoughts on a song about suicide by American musician, Logic.   

  Logic’s title of the song is the suicide prevention hotline number, 1-800-273-8255. 

  Logic performed the song at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards along with featured singer-songwriters Alessia Cara and Khalid.

“I heard that song. I just wanted to say it is legit. I relate so much to that song. You’ll get goosebumps. I was crying. It was amazing. But it was a good cry. Everybody was wearing a shirt that said “You Are Not Alone,” said Monty.

  Monty also shared her thoughts on the hit Netflix original series, “13 Reasons Why,” a show about a high school girl who committs suicide.

  Monty had mixed feelings about “13 Reasons Why.”

  “The ending, the progression. The fact that the girl was so clearly reaching out for help and wasn’t getting it was just very frustrating. It bothered me. It did not set with me well. They put that girl through it. Somebody needed to intervene and help her. Not necessarily with the suicide but all her feelings and things that had happened to her, rape and all that other stuff,” said Monty.

  Jessica Melendrez is a senior human biology major. Melendrez was brave enough to share her uncle Javier’s story of suicide. 

  Her uncle was her mother’s father figure. Javier was a boxer when he was younger and was in a terrible car accident and became paralyzed.

  “He seemed fine to us, but we never knew what was really wrong with him. One time, I remember he said he wanted to start training. He started to get upper body strength and we thought it was impossible. Then one day my aunt found him hung. It was just shocking because he was in a wheelchair. It’s just sad now because if you think about it, you’re like ‘wow.’ I wish I would’ve talked to him more, or I wish he could’ve talked to us more just to know what was going on,” said Melendrez.

  Need someone to listen to you? The counseling staff is always willing to listen. Call 661-654-3366.

  The national suicide prevention lifeline number is 1(800) 273-TALK.


Leslie Monty speaks to students about the many offered resources for help for those in need.
Photo by Jarad Mann/ The Runner