“You Are Not Alone:” Active Minds Hosts Walk for Suicide Prevention

Photo Credit / Ashley Levin From left, Sophia Cabrera, Alyssa Mesi, David James, and Zoe Maas hold up signs advocating the importance of mental health. Photo Credit / Ashley Levin
From left, Sophia Cabrera, Alyssa Mesi, David James, and Zoe Maas hold up signs advocating the importance of mental health.

By Ashley Levin
Contributing Writer

On Thursday Sept. 28, the Active Minds organization held an on-campus walk to honor September as Suicide Prevention Month.

It’s important to be aware of suicide; it’s not something to joke about…you’re not alone, you can always find help, said student Andrew Reed of the event.

We have problems that TV and the media tend to portray as crazy, and getting help doesn’t make you weak, it makes you stronger, added student Christina Hart.

The walk, entitled Miles in Our Shoes, took place at around 6:00 pm on Thursday night. Dozens of students holding up signs with sayings such as You Matter and The World Is a Better Place with You in It began the trek from the Shawnee Quad to the Fine and Performing Arts Center, Logic’s 1-800-273-8255 playing from the speakers behind them.

One in 4 people, or nearly 26% of Americans, have a mental illness of some sort according to John Hopkins Medicine.

These mental illnesses include major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.

Ninety percent of people who attempt or complete suicide have one or more of the above mental illnesses along with others, the majority being diagnosable and treatable.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Americans aged 15-24, and one of the top ten leading preventable deaths in Americans overall.

According to the American Suicide Prevention Foundation, for every completed suicide, 25 are attempted.

Suicide can be prevented by limiting access to methods used, getting professional help and portraying mental issues correctly in the media.

One of the main things I wanted to do was do a walk for mental health awareness.

“I’m thankful that we did it with the help of my Eboard team and Active Minds,” said Active Minds president Raquel Sosa.

“This is an important cause and we wanted to let people know that it’s okay to reach out for help. This is especially important to me due to my brother, who attempted suicide in my freshman year.”

“This is important to me because my best friend completed suicide three years ago,” continued Active Minds vice-president Catherine Kluge. “[The walk] helps a lot and it feels good to bring awareness for something that affected me, and I’m really impressed with how many people turned out.”

When asked if they had or if they knew someone with a mental illness or who had attempted suicide, most of the crowd raised their hands.

The event also consisted of a silent gift basket auction, where the proceeds went to charity, and refreshments for the walkers.

Donations for the charities were accepted. Pins and booklets about mental health and how to get specialized treatment for several kinds were given out as well.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please get help immediately and call 911 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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