Promoting Awareness and Wellness (PAWs)
Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs! That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.
SEPTEMBER 2013 – HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH & SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK
great place to check out murals, sculptures, and other works that cele-
brate Hispanic cultural heritage.
Every year since 1988, the United States has celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. The 30-day observance was started to recognize the countless contributions of Hispanic Americans. September 15 was chosen as the start date because it is on that date in 1821 that Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua declared independence. Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on the 16th, 18th and 21st of September, respectively (About NHHM, n.d.).
During National Hispanic Heritage Month, the history, culture, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America are celebrated. With over 50 million Hispanic Americans in the Unites States, there is no question that their influence has been felt. Through art, music, and food, the presence of Hispanic culture is felt and celebrated throughout the country (Hispanic Heritage, n.d.).
Notable Hispanic Americans
While you may have heard of Desi Arnaz or Jose Canseco, we bet there are a few individuals on this list that you haven’t heard of whose contributions have had a tremendous impact on our nation.
- Luis Walter Alvarez - Nobel Prize-winning physicist who also developed the meteorite theory of dinosaur extinction
- Desi Arnaz - Cuban-born actor most well known for his role in the hit TV show I Love Lucy
- David Barkley- First Hispanic American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War I
- Jose Canseco - Cuban American baseball player and first player in MLB history with 40 home runs and 40 steals in a season
- Mario Molina - Mexican-born chemist and 1995 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry
- Ellen Ochoa - First Hispanic female astronaut
- Junipero Serra - Spanish Franciscan missionary who founded the first California Missions
A Time to Celebrate
This year, events celebrating Hispanic Heritage will take place across the country at universities, communities, museums, and parks. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) will host their annual conference and awards gala. The gala brings together members of Congress, elected and appointed officials and leaders in the Hispanic community to raise money for future leaders, scholarships, and educational programs. CHCI will also hold the public policy conference in Washington, DC to discuss issues of importance to Latinos including education, civil rights, health, and immigration (CHCI Calendar, n.d.). For more information about National Hispanic Heritage Month and to find out how you can get involved, visit the Hispanic Heritage month website.
Suicide Prevention Week
With someone completing suicide every 13.7 minutes in the United States, it is an issue that can’t be ignored. Over the past decade, the rate of suicide has climbed. Currently, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and results in over 700,000 deaths globally every year (Suicide, n.d.). Due to the alarming rate of suicide attempts and deaths by suicide, several campaigns and initiatives have taken shape for awareness and prevention of suicide. For almost 40 years, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has raised awareness through suicide prevention week. This year, suicide prevention week is held September 8-14, with suicide prevention day on the 10th (About Suicide, n.d.).
Facts About Suicide
- 90% of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder
- Men are four times more likely to complete suicide
- Women attempt suicide three times more than men
- Highest rate of suicide is among 40-59-year-old adults
Risk Factors Associated with Suicide
- Psychiatric disorders: including schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, eating disorders, etc.
- History of suicide attempts: 20-50% of people who commit suicide have attempted suicide previously
- Genetics: family history of suicide and family history of depression
- Impulsivity: particularly among those with personality disorders that include impulsive behavior
(Facts and Figures, n.d.).
Watch this video to see how one band interpreted the impulse for suicide with their poignant song, “Moments.”
Suicide Prevention – Say Something! Reach Out! Get Involved!
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. Every year, thousands of college students drop out of school for reasons related to mental health. The Jed Foundation, a major non-profit organization leading the charge in suicide prevention among college students, aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues. Composed of mental health professionals, college students, parents, and colleges, the foundation has created a campaign called “Half of Us” to raise awareness for the prevalence of mental health issues among college students. Partnering with mtvU, Half of Us uses high profile celebrities to discuss their own struggles with mental health issues. The hope is that students realize they are not alone in their pain and suffering and recognize that there is help out there. To date, the campaign has reached over one billion people and has likely made lasting impressions on those who are struggling (Programs for Students, n.d.).
If you or someone you know may be thinking about suicide, don’t wait to get help! Call the national 24-hour suicide helpline at 1.800.273.TALK (press 1 for servicemember and veteran support).
About National Hispanic Heritage Month (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2012 from http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov
Hispanic Heritage Month (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2012 from http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org
Notable Hispanic Americans (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2012 from http://www.factmonster.com
2013 CHCI Calendar (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2013 from http://www.chci.org
Soreff, S. (2012). Suicide: Overview. December 19th, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2013 from http://www.emedicine.medscape.com