Group aims to prevent suicide at U

By By Jake Hibbard , Staff Writer and By , Staff Writer

By Jake Hibbard , Staff Writer

Sometimes, people just need someone to talk to8212;and one U student group wants to let everyone know that it’s all ears.

This year, three engineering students8212;Matthew Buhler, Chris Owens and Nick Judge8212;have committed suicide. The group Talk, I’ll Listen wants to reach out to students who are feeling depressed or considering suicide.

The group’s aim is to educate people about suicide and preventing it, said Arian Mohajer, a junior in exercise and sport science, who co-founded the group after his friend, Owens, killed himself in February.

Mohajer wanted to do something to help other people in the same situation as Owens and the idea took off from there.

“(We want) to provide relief to people in immediate distress,” said Michael Eccleston, a junior in film studies and co-founder of the group. “The goal is to be more approachable and less intimidating than a counselor.”

Eccleston said he came up with the idea of Talk, I’ll Listen while riding FrontRunner and wishing he could talk to someone about the stress in his life. He said he suspected that many fellow passengers would have listened to him, but because there was no way to know who would be willing, he remained silent.

“After (that day), I wanted to start a group where members advertised that they were there for people that wanted to talk,” Eccleston said.

To go along with his idea of advertising their willingness to talk, the group’s members wear brightly colored T-shirts that say “Talk, I’ll Listen,” Eccleston said.

“College is like jumping into a swimming pool without testing the water first,” he said, adding that for some people, the combined stress of homework, relationships and trying to decide what to do with the rest of their lives can be overwhelming.

“These stresses are by no means too much to conquer, but sometimes students feel like they can’t handle it,” he said.

Eccleston said that since starting the group, he has had friends come and talk to him about problems they are having, but he has yet to have someone he doesn’t know come to him for help. He said he hopes this will change as the group becomes more well-known.
“If we can make a positive change in one person’s life, then the whole group is worth it,” Mohajer said.

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