Remembering those lost to suicide


Tony Hernandez II

A blanket from the organization S.A.L. T (Save a Life Today)commentating the lives of individuals on October 22, 2019 at the 6th Annual CSUB Candlelight Event.

Ashley Balcaceres, Reporter

As the sun goes down and the night begins creeping in, all one could see is a candlelit heart. Looking closer, they would see that each and every cup has a message for anyone willing to hear, provided by the various attendees of the event. Overlooking the heart is a quilt provided by Save A Life Today (SALT) that has a collage of photos of the ones who have committed suicide throughout recent years.

Remembering and honoring those who have been lost to us because of suicide and raising awareness for other mental health concerns is just one of the key messages discussed at the 6th Annual Candlelight Event hosted at CSU Bakersfield by the Counseling Center.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” A quote by poet Robert Frost that freshman Jaime Pacheco wrote on his cup in hopes that it would provide someone with strength.

The event was held from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m on the patio of the Student Union. It included free food, speakers from different departments on and outside of campus, and an opportunity to light a candle in honor of those who are gone and those affected by loss. This event was not just a remembrance. It was also an attempt to spread awareness for suicide and other mentalhealth concerns.

“Remembering. That is the big reason that we are here; to remember and to honor those folks. And to say, you know, that we still honor you,” says Eric Lord, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works at the CSUB Counseling Center.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Ellen Eggert, a speaker from Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, has been involved in this event since it first began six years ago. She said that anyone can be trained in suicide awareness. You don’t need a license, you just need to care. She mentions that she hates to attend memorials like these, and she wishes that in the near future she won’t have to.

Everyone has the chance to save a life if they only would talk to one another instead of just passing each other by. People do not know that just saying a few nice things to a complete stranger can save them. Anyone who needs help, or just someone to talk to, can call hotlines like the one provided by Kern Behavioral Health. When someone needs to talk and feels like no one will listen, they will.

Eggert mentions that there are some callers that just to want to vent to someone and she can be that someone.

SALT is an organization that is done by the community for the community. SALT is a volunteer organization whose profits stay in the community.

“Everything we do here is for our community,” states Eugene Frey, masters student in counseling psychology and SALT representative.

Various hotlines and departments are available for those affected by mental illness or suicidal thoughts. The Kern County Mental Health Hotline, also known as the 24-Hour Crisis Hotline, is 1-800-991-5272. The CSUB Counseling Center’s number is (661) 654-3366. They are located in Building 35. The Veteran’s Department at CSUB’s number is (661) 654-3557, and they are located in the Admissions and Records building. All of them are there willing to listen.