By Alison Tobin ’18
Merrimack’s Active Minds chapter raised awareness about suicide and depression with their 5K Walk for Suicide Prevention last weekend.
An organization that focuses on spreading awareness of the importance of mental health to the college and the community, Active Minds held this walk to make people aware that they are not alone and to help fight toward the prevention of suicide.
“Active Minds wished to accomplish a removal of stigma on campus and for others to learn about anxiety and depression,” said member Meghan McHugh.
The idea of this event came from past Active Minds executive board members. The Merrimack community remembers Jordan Bedard, a Merrimack student who took his own life in November 2014.
“Even though Suicide Prevention Month is in September, the one request the president had was to keep this event in November in memory of Jordan,” said Active Minds president Jessica DeAlmeida.
The event began with personal speeches from survivors. Among the speakers was DeAlmeida.
“All of our speeches voiced how we were affected by suicide and also provided words of hope that individuals who are struggling are not alone and are strong enough to overcome this tough time,” she said.
Active Minds member and walk participant Hailey Corbett enjoyed listening to the speakers.
“Their mental toughness and capability to overcome their past is absolutely inspirational and still amazes me,” Corbett said.
According to Corbett, the inspirational speakers set the mood for the walk. When participants were on their way, they traveled through a pathway covered in purple and turquoise decor along with inspirational, reassuring quotes.
“The setup was fantastic and the decorations on the route were so inspiring,” said McHugh.
Active Minds had been working hard on this event since the summer. They had to work with the college to choose a date, as well as communicate with many others to make sure items from shirts to food came into place.
DeAlmeida, Corbett, and McHugh were all pleased with the success of the walk. DeAlmeida said over 100 people donated to the cause, and they were able to raise over $1,300. The money raised was donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the leading organization in the fight against suicide.
DeAlmeida was also happy with the volunteers that helped make the walk possible.
“We had over 20 volunteers help set up the MPR and add signage to the route and everyone was so incredibly helpful that we even ran out of jobs early,” noted DeAlmeida.
Active Minds members all agree that the 5K Walk for Suicide Prevention is something that is necessary and important to have on campus.
“As college students on a small campus, we have an amazing opportunity to spread the word and let our peers know that no matter what, they are never alone,” said Corbett.
The 5K Walk for Suicide Prevention has become a tradition for the Active Minds chapter at Merrimack and will continue on.
“Due to Merrimack College’s close connection with suicide, our chapter has decided to make this event a tradition, or one that we will continue to implement each year,” said DeAlmeida.
Other events that the group coordinates every year are Stress Less Week and Eating Disorders Week.