Powerful demonstration shines spotlight on suicide awareness

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Rows upon rows of backpacks lined the cafeteria floor at Fresno City College Monday. The nearly 1,100 backpacks represent the annual college suicide rate.

"It's over a thousand a year nationwide, who actually are college-age students, in the nation that commit suicide," says Dr. Guadalupe Vasquez a psychologist at Fresno City College.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. The backpacks represent those lives lost to suicide.

Pictures and stories could be found among the backpacks.

It's all part of a traveling exhibit to help bring awareness and to remind young adults, help is always available.

"All the campuses at the State Center Community College District except Oakhurst have psychological services, so we want to make them aware, 'hey we have services here'," says Dr. Vasquez.

At least one student passing by on her way to class was overcome with emotion after reading the stories of young people who struggled with everyday challenges.

"The thing that really impacts me is that these people took their own life," said FCC student Dominique Pearce. "It's something that could've been avoided, it's something that could've been prevented, and maybe it can be, in the future."

Officials were at Monday's event ready to speak with students and offer counseling.

"It is prevalent and it is something if people are depressed or even if they're having problems can turn to," says Dr. Vasquez.
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