Geena Levine ‘21
The student organization Active Minds recently held its fifth annual Suicide Prevention Walk on campus. The event’s purpose is to bring awareness to the fight against suicide on campus and to raise money for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Another goal of this walk is to end the stigma that surrounds mental health and to help people understand the struggle that individuals with suicidal thoughts experiences.
The walk begins at Cascia Hall and loops all around campus, down by Monican Hall, and then back to Cascia Hall. The organization charges a $10 fee for students to participate in the walk. During the event, there were different colored necklaces handed out. Each color represented a different reason why you were in attendance at the walk and you were able to either show off the necklace or not.
“Many people are affected by suicide, whether people struggle with it themselves or a family member or friend has been affected and nobody really talks about it,” said Active Minds President, Megan Snow. “I spoke about my friend who committed suicide, and Anne Snyder spoke about her own personal struggles, so I think it helped open up the conversation and influence people to start talking about it.”
Merrimack Junior Nick Stefekos felt the walk was very powerful. “I thought it was impactful that everyone participated in one route. There were no choices as for how far and where you wanted to walk yet everyone together walked out Cascia Hall and around the church and looped back to the event’s starting point. I felt this symbolized everyone being together and exemplified connectivity as well as mutual support within all people in attendance.”
The walk was an overall success and there were around 100 participants. This important event will be continued in coming years at Merrimack College. Suicide and mental health are big issues on college campuses all around the country, yet they are often not talk about or ignored by schools. Active Minds putting on this event in order to raise awareness on campus and make students feel more comfortable speaking up is very important to the student body. This event is just one step in the right direction to end the stigma of suicide and mental help on Merrimack College’s campus.