Suicide Prevention Week at BC

Active Minds Reaches Out To Students Who Struggle With Depression

Different colored ribbons representing relationships to mental health. People could take these ribbons and pin them on their backpacks or shirts. Each color represents a different relationship to mental health.

Photo by Erica Cooke

Different colored ribbons representing relationships to mental health. People could take these ribbons and pin them on their backpacks or shirts. Each color represents a different relationship to mental health.

Kaitlan Parker, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – During the week of Oct. 19, 2015, Bridgewater College’s chapter of Active Minds held Suicide Prevention Week. Active Minds is a student run organization that works to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Suicide Prevention Week has many goals. “We want to reach out to those students who feel alone in their depression or mental illness,” explains the Active Minds President Erica Cooke. They work to help people understand how many individuals are affected by suicide and depression.

There are many activities that go on during Suicide Prevention Week. One of those activities is “Leafing Your Silence at the Door.” For this activity there is a paper tree hung up on the wall in the lobby of the Kline Campus Center. Students, staff and faculty could place their own leaf on the tree.

There were options for what color leaf each person wanted to use as each color holds a different meaning. White leaves means that the person is willing to reach out to people who are struggling with mental illness. Yellow means that the person is a mental health advocate. Green means that they have had their life impacted by someone committing suicide. Purple means that the person has struggled with mental illness. Lastly, blue means that the person knows someone struggling with mental illness. People could also take ribbons to pin on their shirts and backpacks that corresponded with these colors.

On the final day of Suicide Prevention Week Active Minds and the Bridgewater Community participated in the Semicolon Project.

During this people could get a stamp of a semicolon put on them by an Active Minds member. This semicolon represents where a person could have ended their story but choose not to. This is similar to how an author could end their sentence but chooses not to. As well students could write on sticky notes and post them why they choose to have their story go on.

Cooke explained that Active Minds has hosted other successful events in the past to raise awareness about suicide. “Last year we had an event called Send Silence Packing,” says Cooke. During this event there were 1,100 backpacks placed out on the mall of the Bridgewater College campus. These backpacks represented the 1,100 students who committed suicide that year.

Active Minds will host other events in the future that the Bridgewater community can look for. They will have Positive Body Image Week to raise awareness for people with eating disorders.  As well during exam weeks, they have Stress Less Week. During that week they host events to help students escape the stress of exams.