By: Daylon Bonner, Staff Writer
Active Minds will be hosting several events for the duration of Suicide Prevention Week. Prior to this I caught up with both the President and Vice President of the organization Kera Molton and Sakile Johnson respectively. Here is some the information they gave.
- What is Active Minds?
Kera: This is a relatively new organization as it is under two years old on this campus. We discuss topics that may be uncomfortable for some including suicide prevention and mental health. We try to provide a solution for those who need it as well as remove the stigma associated with mental illness.
Sakile: We also try to connect students to various resources. We are not counselors ourselves. Most of what we do is in conjunction with PEP or the counseling center. There information is often provided.
2. What is the stigma?
Kera: The labels given to those with mental health issues are usually something along the lines of “crazy,” “psycho,” or “schizo.” I think that if you stigmatize people they are less likely to reach out for help.
Sakile: I think a lot of the stigma part comes you are using out of place for some who is going through something. It also comes from stereotyping someone for getting help or viewing anyone who is receiving help in a bad light.
3. How did you become involved with Active Minds?
Kera: I saw a flyer for it. Once I realized what it was, I felt that this is something I could be involved with, especially the education portion.
Sakile: I was, and still am, a member of PEP prior to joining Active Minds. I guess I found out via us working together.
4. How large is the organization?
Kera: We have a total roster of about seventy though I have not talked to everyone. We do use the MyInvolvement system which does have members on it. This system will probably be useful in the long run.
Sakile: The information is all on one page and allows you to stay in tune with what we are doing throughout the year.
5. How do the Suicide Training Events address the discomfort barrier so that you can help someone?
Sakile: It is very hard to break the barrier with someone you care about, even with just a stranger. We definitely address that. In fact, in some cases it may be better to ask the point blank if they are thinking about it. Some people think that if you mention suicide to someone that you are putting ideas in their head and that is not the case. That being said, do not address it in a negative way. Do not ask them, ‘Are you thinking of doing something drastic?’ That is not the best route to take. If possible people should attend these events if they cannot make it to any of the other ones.
6. What can people expect at Lantern & Lyrics?
Kera: We have decorated bags which we light up. The intent is to let people know that we will not allow stigma to define us. We will definitely talk about suicide but also give facts about it.
Sakile: I think it is also to honor those who have left us. People also have the change to speak on their own experiences.
7. What is to be expected at Messages of Hope?
Sakile: This event will actually be run in conjunction with PEP and will move around campus from day to day. We actually have out own separate event entitled Stomp Out Stigma. Both events will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The events will take place outside the Student Union, outside the Science Center, Outside University Hall and by the Learning commons on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Our event will serve as a call to action which will ask students to commit to helping to end suicide.
8. Any future events to look forward to?
Kera: We are still in the planning stages right now, but we do want to have a couple of events in October. We considered spooky movie night and trivia night. While we do aim to give out information, we do also want people to be able to relax.