McNeese launches Greaux Blue campaign

Fundraising effort addresses rising suicide rate in Calcasieu

Suicide Education graphicGREAUX BLUE

McNeese State University’s Kay Doré Counseling Center is seeking to expand its services to address Calcasieu Parish’s rising suicide rate.

The center has started Greaux Blue, McNeese’s crowd-sourced fundraising tool, to raise $25,000 for increased education, training and research on suicide. Calcasieu’s suicide rate is 19.9 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to data from the Calcasieu Coroner’s Office. It’s higher than the 15.18 deaths statewide and the national rate of 14 deaths.

“We felt it was out of obligation to be a good partner,” said Kevin Yaudes, assistant professor of psychology. “McNeese takes up a large footprint in Lake Charles, and we produce most of the licensed professional counselors in the area.”

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Charlie Hunter, chief investigator with the coroner’s office, said 15 suicides have occurred from Jan. 1 to March 11. This trend suggests the local suicide rate could potentially double this year if it continues.

More local research is needed on the rising suicide rates for specific demographics, Yaudes said.

“Instead of broad strokes, really digging down deep is necessary,” he said. “It may look different from community to community, and that’s the research that seems to be missing, at least as far as I can tell.”

Along with research and training, the funds will ensure the center maintains its rate of $20 per session for its clients. Funds will also help McNeese continue its local partnerships with initiatives like Sam Houston High School’s Peer Initiative Leaders of Tomorrow program, which trains students and staff on providing peer-to-peer support to address underlying causes of student suicide.

Yaudes said better understanding of suicide warning signs and healthy dialogue can help save lives.

“Talking about suicide is actually protective,” he said.


Donations to the initiative can be made by mailing a check designated “KDCC/Suicide” to the McNeese Foundation, Box 91989, Lake Charles, LA 70609, or online at greauxblue.mcneese.edu/kdcc.

Better  understanding of suicide warning signs and healthy dialogue can help save lives.

Kevin Yaudes

McNeese assistant professor of psychology

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