By Jenna Rutkey
Staff Writer ‘18
This past Saturday, November 14, Merrimack’s student organization, Active Minds, hosted a Suicide Prevention 5k Walk to raise awareness about the millions struggling with mental illness and to honor those that have lost their lives to it because they felt they were not enough.
An astounding number of over 250 people participated in the walk and over $1,000 was donated to suicide prevention.
Active Minds is a national organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health. The organization’s main goal is to educate others on the subject and to encourage others to seek help when they need it so that suicide is never an option.
Merrimack’s chapter of Active Minds is new on campus as of the 2015-2016 school year. It is lead by senior Kelli Readey.
Readey expressed, “Our chapter of Active Minds aims to increase students’ awareness about mental health issues, promote positive mental health, provide information and resources regarding mental health, and create an open conversation about mental illness so that we can work towards stopping the stigma surrounding it.”
She continued by explaining that the biggest stigma surrounding mental illness is “…all in your head,” and that beginning to treat it like any other physical illness will help combat the issue at hand.
Junior Sue Ung added to Readey’s statement by stating a quote of Kevin Breel’s.
Breel stated, “We live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs to sign your cast, but if you tell people you are depressed, they run the other way. That’s the stigma.”
“We can’t allow people to feel like their feelings are not important and invalid,” Ung continued. “The Merrimack Active Minds group is only one small piece to a whole puzzle, but every day we are making a difference.”
The Active Minds organization meets every Tuesday and welcomes new members. As a team, they are continuously planning events and brainstorming ideas to help stop the stigma and save lives.
Photos by Jenna Rutkey