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Active Minds teaches campus to prevent suicide

By Chelsea LoCascio
Staff Writer

Active Minds teaches students suicide prevention methods and how to properly help a friend or fellow student dealing with depression.  (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)
Active Minds teaches students suicide prevention methods and how to properly help a friend or fellow student dealing with depression. (Kyle Bennion / Photo Editor)

Among the crowds of students chitchatting with friends or passing time between classes with a quick lunch, a group of students broke up the typical happenings of the Brower Student Center with some handprints and hope.

“Every handprint represents a person who’s willing to talk to you,” said junior psychology major Margaret Pappadimatos, student organizer for Active Minds at the College. “They will talk to you for however long (you) need, as long as you don’t take that final step.”

Active Minds set up a table on Thursday, Sept. 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Center where students could dip their hands in paint, leave prints on the banner and sign their names as part of Suicide Awareness Month.

“(They) are making a pledge to lend a hand to stop suicide,” junior psychology major and president of Active Minds Noelle Skrobola said.

According to Skrobola, suicide is the second leading cause of death, because those suffering with depression tend to keep their thoughts to themselves.

“We want to raise awareness and educate people,” Skrobola said. “We want to get the campus talking. (It’s a) taboo topic … it’s often brushed under the rug.”

In the Active Minds information session, students learned suicide prevention skills, according to Skrobola.

If someone is very serious about taking their own life, Pappadimatos encouraged people to never leave the sufferer alone and even stay with them overnight, if necessary.

In less critical situations, it is still crucial to make it known that there are people that are always available to listen to any pressing problems they have, Pappadimatos said.

Members of Active Minds agree that talking the situation out is the best way to prevent suicide.

“It’s really important to open yourself up for conversation,” Pappadimatos said. “Never accuse them of being crazy or exaggerating. Take everything they say serious. Don’t feel like you’re battling by yourself.”

This battle of mental health disorders is more common than most would think, as it affects one in four adults, according to the organization.

For this reason, the members of Active Minds stress that social support, especially around campus, is a key component in the fight to prevent suicide.

Skrobola strongly encourages that those who are suffering go to a friend or the Counseling and Psychological Services offered here at the College.

“Definitely try your best to reach out to the resources on campus … It can be really hard when you’re in that mindset,” Skrobola said.

Active Minds abide by a pledge that says, “I pledge that I will: tell someone if I’m struggling.” Another part of the pledge says, “I pledge that I will: not make jokes about suicide.”

This part of the pledge is vital in the prevention of suicide, because people do not understand that their jokes hurt more than they amuse.

“I’m honestly personally offended,” junior psychology major and Vice President of Active Minds Sarah Perry said. “People don’t realize that (other) people take it seriously … you think your words don’t hurt, but they do.”

“You don’t have to be perfect. You just need to be there.” These words of encouragement, among others, splattered the Active Minds’ sign in front of their table to remind the passersby that no amount of stress, bullying or self-doubt should make someone take their own life.   

“At the end of the day, your family and friends are there for you,” Perry said. “Reach out, and you will see people are struggling just as much as you are.”          

Active Minds abide by a pledge that says, “I pledge that I will: tell someone if I’m struggling.” Another part of the pledge says, “I pledge that I will: not make jokes about suicide.”

This part of the pledge is vital in the prevention of suicide, because people do not understand that their jokes hurt more than they amuse.

“I’m honestly personally offended,” junior psychology major and Vice President of Active Minds Sarah Perry said. “People don’t realize that (other) people take it seriously … you think your words don’t hurt, but they do.”

“You don’t have to be perfect. You just need to be there.” These words of encouragement, among others, splattered the Active Minds’ sign in front of their table to remind the passersby that no amount of stress, bullying or self-doubt should make someone take their own life.   

“At the end of the day, your family and friends are there for you,” Perry said. “Reach out, and you will see people are struggling just as much as you are.”

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