Drexel was rocked by the suicide of assistant research professor Nagesh Idupulapati immediately before spring break. This was the second suicide by a member of the Drexel community in the past two years; the first was that of sophomore Ethan Greer in January 2011. Both incidents shocked the campus community and made us question if more can be done in terms of suicide prevention.
There are some extremely beneficial resources currently underutilized by the Drexel public. The University’s Counseling Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, and evening appointments can be arranged by calling 215-762-7625. After business hours Drexel’s on-call counselor can be reached at 215-416-3337. The Counseling Center’s website has a suicide prevention section that explains the reasons why people might consider suicide. The site also notes warning signs to look for and how close friends can help those in trouble.
Another underutilized resource are the peer counselors available through the Drexel Peer Counseling Helpline. The organization is free, private and completely anonymous, which can be very helpful for people who would feel uncomfortable seeking assistance otherwise. The helpline is staffed by graduate and undergraduate students who volunteer to act as a sounding board for anyone in need of one.
Sadly, these fantastic resources often fail to reach those who need them most in time. We are the first line of defense against suicide – the friends, family and loved ones of those in trouble. It is essential that we recognize when someone close to us is crying out for help.
Readers, don’t be ashamed, scared, intimidated or — worst of all — silent. If you want or need help, get it. If you think you need help, ask about it. If you want someone to talk to, there are always people ready to listen. Finally, and crucially, if you see someone in a state of despair, do everything in your power to help them. We say it all the time – Drexel is a close-knit community, and it’s essential that we take care of our own.