Psychological Health & Psychiatry at Wardenburg
Mental health clinic for students; fees may apply
Wardenburg Health Center, first floor
Counseling and Psychological Services
Free counseling for students
Willard Hall Room 134
Walk-in hours from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Hope Coalition of Boulder County
Offers free and confidential help.
Call 303-860-1200 or 303-894-9000
CU peer crisis and referral service
Mental Health Center of Boulder County
24-hour emergency services: 303-447-1665
Suicidal thoughts — your own or a friend’s — are cause for serious concern. Suicide is the second-ranking cause of death for college-age students, and all warning signs must be taken seriously. A person who is suicidal often feels depressed, lonely and isolated from friends and family. A change in sleep patterns, loss of interest in activities and friends, and changes in lifestyle are some additional indicators of suicidal tendencies. If you find yourself or a friend exhibiting these behaviors, seek help immediately.
I t’s been four years since Cindy Baker lost her son, University of Colorado student Tieg Baker, 22.
The sports enthusiast, whom Cindy Baker has described as having a “contagiously happy and funny exterior,” took his life on Flagstaff Mountain in June 2005.
“He was an engineering student at CU and was on the football team for a year and got cut,” Cindy Baker said. “He had some signs of depression.”
In Baker’s personal story on the Hope Coalition of Boulder Web site, she recalls that after some trouble with a relationship in high school, Tieg came home and took some of his mom’s sleeping pills, landing him in the psychiatric ward of the hospital for two days.
Tieg also had to drop out of a semester at CU after being ticketed twice for alcohol, the story reads. Then, he was cut from the CU football team.
“No one will ever even remotely know how much it broke that young boy’s heart,” Cindy Baker wrote.
Although the days, weeks, months and years that followed her son’s death have proven difficult, Baker said it’s important for her to carry on his name.
She has been involved in many outreach programs in Boulder, including a vigil this month, as September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month.
“I share his story very often,” she said. “My hope is to prevent another student from doing the same thing.”
Baker said she still encounters difficult times.
“I’m pretty raw,” she said in an interview, crying. “I feel comfortable talking about him. But I’m still terribly sad.”
She saw her son in the last few hours before he left the world. He asked to borrow a credit card and, heading out the door for a hike, she told him where he could find the card.
“He said ‘Mom, please wait,'” Baker recalled, choking back tears. “So I waited and he came by, gave me a hug and twirled me around and around. He gave me a huge kiss. And I said ‘Wow, what’s this all about?’ and he said ‘I just wanted you to know I love you.'”
One of the outreach programs Baker helps with now is called “Hold On.”
“Every time I see the slogan I want to say ‘Hold on to your kids and don’t let them go,'” she said. “But that’s not the answer. The answer is let them go, but watch them. Love them.”
Looking back, Baker advises students to talk to their friends if they see signs of depression.
“If their friends are giving things away or are losing interest in activities, they need to talk to them,” she said. “If their friend doesn’t want to talk about it, they should tell a counselor.”
CU has four to five students who die by suicide each year, suicide prevention coordinator Amy Robertson said in a news release.
“If somebody is feeling suicidal it’s very important for them to get an assessment by a professional,” she said. “It needs to be determined if there is an underlying mental health issue.”
Robertson said CU mirrors national data in that 10 percent of students have thought about how they would kill themselves if they were to commit suicide.
“This is a common thought for people to have,” she said. “But if it comes in significant and more frequent thought patterns, the student needs to come in and see someone.”
Robertson said although depression is very common, students should talk to friends if they find them displaying signs of loneliness, isolation from friends and family, a change in sleep patterns, loss of interest in activities and changes in lifestyle.
“It’s OK to be really direct with a friend if they are having these thoughts and feelings,” Robertson said. “They’re more likely to feel relieved and less likely to do it.”