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Health, Science & Environment

Suicide Discussion Campaign To Be Featured At Ohio State-Purdue Football Game

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center on March 30, 2020.
David Holm
The awareness campaign hosted by OSU's Wexner Medical Center and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health aims to educate on the importance of talking about suicide so that those struggling with mental health do not feel alone and can get the help they need.

Warning: This story contains content about suicide.

130 people in the U.S. die every day from suicide. That’s over 47,000 every year. During the pandemic, the number of people struggling with mental health has doubled or tripled.

Dr. K. Luan Phan, professor in and chair of Ohio State University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, said these numbers are very troubling.

"If the fact that mental health challenges have doubled to tripled in size, one would then be very concerned that the suicide rate would potentially double and triple in size in the coming years," said Phan.

The T.A.L.K. Campaign aims to build awareness about these numbers and educate the public on how to talk about suicide so that people don’t feel alone and can get the help they need. T.A.L.K. stands for Tell them you care, Act Immediately, Listen without judgment and Know that treatment works.

The campaign was started by Phan’s department, the OSU Wexner Medical Center, and OSU’s Harding Hospital, which focuses on mental and behavioral health services.

At Ohio State’s football game against Purdue University on Saturday, T.A.L.K.’s #EndSuicideSilence campaign will share information through digital and audio announcements, as well as at a booth outside the hockey rink across the street from Ohio Stadium.

Phan said the pandemic and the accompanying financial stress, isolation, and experiences with the coronavirus have given many people who hadn’t previously experienced mental health challenges a chance to empathize with those who do.

“I think the pandemic has alerted us to the fact that we have a shared experience,” said Phan. “So, it’s sort of an earthquake that has happened in each and every one of our neighborhoods and in each and every one of our homes.”

Saturday’s matchup against Purdue will also be OSU’s annual Military Appreciation Game, which will highlight information about veterans.

For more information about the T.A.L.K. Campaign, visit go.osu.edu/talk, and watch OSU's video on the campaign.