Ethan Smith, Staff Writer
Active Minds, a nonprofit organization centered around mental awareness for people at the collegiate level, hosted the event “Lanterns & Lyrics” on Friday, Sept. 29 to show awareness for those who are victims of suicide. Poems were read, songs were sung and a few people from Active Minds shared their stories about their experiences with suicide, as well as how they believe suicide can be prevented.
Personalized lanterns were made by students earlier in the day, and each lantern lit up the night to recognize a victim of suicide. Some of the lanterns had beautifully drawn pictures, while other had positive quotes or sayings that touched everyone in attendance.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 20-24. One in 12 college students in the United States plans suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention claims that every day, approximately 80 American college students take their lives and 1,500 American college students attempt to do so, which may not sound like a lot but 80 people a day piles up very quickly, and especially so considering that the statistic only applies to college students in America.
I asked the Active Minds group questions about how suicide awareness can become a more important topic among college students.
“Definitely some more lectures would be great. More events on it, maybe more groups could get together with us, we could do a play about it, etc. Any organization that is willing to work with us to bring these type of events to [Armstrong] because it’s definitely a very silent thing, and it definitely needs to be spread out and talked about…. We definitely need more help from the campus.”
I then asked how Active Minds could be more active on the Armstrong campus. To which they responded, “Spreading the awareness. Get involved with us. We have resources from a national point of view because we are a national organization, so we get resources from those who know how to advocate for it. So get involved with us as well as PEP (Pirates Educating Pirates.) Always check your emails because we are always sending something, whether it’s just a smiley face or anything like that. We’re bringing one of our themes forward, Expressing Yourself, to allow people to come out of their comfort zone and speak about suicide and their personal experiences with it. Being apart of something like this is powerful.”
Pirates Educating Pirates is also a great resource here on campus which you can take advantage of if you have an interest in teaching others about suicide.
If you are interested in helping the movement to raise suicide awareness, you can contact Active Minds at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Active Minds and what they do, please visit http://www.activeminds.org/.
If you are interested in becoming a Peer Educator for Pirates Educating Pirates, you can find out more information and apply at: https://www.armstrong.edu/life-at-armstrong/pirates-educating-pirates.
If you believe someone you know is immediately suicidal, please contact the Armstrong Police. If you or a loved one are seriously contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800- 273-TALK (8255).