Students help raise awareness about suicide

by Alex Piscatelli, Staff Writer

Over 1,000 graduation caps were scattered across San Diego State’s Centennial Walkway last week.

Each cap represented a college student that dies by suicide each year.

An organization called Active Minds was responsible for the demonstration. The group is dedicated to reducing the stigma associated with mental health.

“College students are just more at risk for suicidal thoughts than other people in the population,” Active Minds SDSU Chapter President Sara Treptow said.

The chapter hosted two events last week. First, a tabling event promoting suicide prevention was held. Later, a candlelight event honored those whose lives have been affected by suicide.

“It gives this new perspective and visual of how much of an issue this really is among college students,” Treptow said.

Active Minds promoted Counseling and Psychological Services as a resource to use for someone struggling.

On the night of Oct. 15, Centennial Walkway was filled with lanterns with positive messages regarding mental health or messages honoring someone who had died by suicide.

“Reading those is very emotional,” Treptow said. “There’s a lot hugging and tears. It’s really impactful — it kind of adds this solemn feel to the night.”

Active Minds holds four events each semester, each with different themes.

“When we conduct outreach events, such as tabling on campus, we are available to give students all kinds of resources,” Treptow said. “Whether it is presenting students with facts about suicide, celebrating Love Your Body Day, or providing a therapy animal for students to de-stress, we are always making connections and promoting mental well being on campus.”

Some students involved with Active Minds will also be participating in a walk held on Sunday, Oct. 24, at NTC Liberty Station Park. The walk is held for free by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“We walk to support those who suffer from mental health conditions and raise the money for research and prevention programs that will save lives,” AFSP San Diego Chapter Chair Che Hernandez said.

SDSU students who want to participate in the walk can join the Active Minds team using team name “SDSU Walkers Team” when they register.

Active Minds holds weekly Thursday meetings at 1 p.m. in conference room three on the fourth floor of the Calpulli Health Center.