By Mari Pizzini
Flags with messages like “please be here tomorrow” and “you matter” encircled Morningside’s outdoor classroom and M on Thursday, September 10th for World Suicide Prevention Day. In honor of September being Suicide Prevention Month, Morningside’s chapter of Active Minds is reminding students their lives matter.
Macie Moore, co-founder and former co-president of Active Minds, said “in total, 200 flags were placed, representing the 800,000 people who die by suicide each year.” Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to write their own message of support and understanding on each flag.
“Active Minds started this event last year,” Moore continued, “with the goal of increasing awareness of mental health and the growing rate of suicide amongst college students.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 41% of college students in 2018 reported being so depressed it was difficult to function while 62% “felt overwhelming anxiety.” These numbers in college students continue to rise.
Collin Adank, former event coordinator and current Vice President of Active Minds, said “to me, these flags allow us the opportunity to start a conversation with the people around us about suicide prevention. These flags also serve as a reminder to check on our friends and those arounds us.”
Both Adank and Moore said that Morningside students need to continue conversations about mental health, even after September ends.
“The most important way Morningside can continue to support the mental health of students and staff is by normalizing the conversation,” Moore said. “Just a few simple words by a friend, teammate, professor, or student, can be life changing. Reach out, check in, and know your resources on and off campus!”
If you or someone you know is having feelings of worthlessness or suicide, the hotline number is (1-800-273-8255). Appointments with Bobbi Meister, campus counselor, can be made HERE.
Active Minds meets every Thursday at 7pm in Weikert Auditorium and on September 24 will be hosting a discussion on Suicide Prevention featuring Darin Person, a suicide prevention counselor.