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UA suicide rates steady


By Ross Hager
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 31, 2005
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Union death investigated as first suicide of year

The UA student whose body was found last week in the basement of the Student Union Memorial Center is being investigated as a suicide and is the first reported suicide of the year at the UA.

Gregory Thomas Bauer's body was discovered around 6 a.m. Wednesday near Wilbur's Underground, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Prior to this incident there were no reported suicides at the UA this semester, police said.

In the 2005 school year, university police reported five attempted suicides, which parallel the 2004 school year when four attempted suicides and one completed suicide were reported, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, University of Arizona Police Department spokesman.

The last two suicides involved one student who lived in the Kappa Alpha fraternity house and one student who lived in Sierra Residence Hall, Mejia said.

Caitlyn Campbell, who lived in the Navajo-Pinal Residence Hall with a student who committed suicide, said these incidents affect everyone who lives there.

"The dorm got shut down," Campbell said. "Everyone was in a very somber mood."

Although Mejia said attempting suicide is not a crime, UAPD still investigates the incident and sets the wheels in motion for people to intervene to help the victim.

"We try to help them," Mejia said, "give them a remedy."

UAPD cannot force students to seek treatment, but Mejia said police try their best to facilitate some type of counseling if the student is "exhibiting signs that they are a threat to themselves or others."

Police also rely on friends, roommates and family members to help with students who need it, Mejia said.

One of the outlets police work directly with is Campus Health Service's Counseling and Psychological Services or CAPS, Mejia said.

Marian Binder, director of CAPS and a clinical psychologist, said when a student attempts suicide, a CAPS counselor meets directly with that student and determines whether or not they actually planned on going through with it.

"Sometimes something just looks suicidal," Binder said, "like faking to jump or taking a lot of pills."

And after the incident is over, in some cases the student no longer feels suicidal but embarrassed instead, Binder said.

But if a student actually planned to commit suicide and is still at risk of committing suicide, CAPS is authorized to petition to involuntarily admit the student to a hospital, Binder said.

Students who are at risk of being suicidal cannot be generalized, Binder said.

"They can have been depressed in the past or someone who has everything going for them," Binder said.

And even suicide attempts are not all the same, Binder said.

"The attempt can be on impulse or with great forethought after a long time of suffering or after a short time of suffering," Binder said.

But in most cases, things are not as bad as they seem, Binder said.

"Very few students are as hopeless or futile as they feel at the moment," Binder said.



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