Photo by Josh Meredith
A group of students gathered Saturday morning to walk in memory of those who have died from suicide.
The Suicide Awareness Memory Walk was organized and led by Active Minds, a mental health and suicide prevention student organization. Around 30 students gathered at the Griffin Center and walked to Forum III.
Students made signs stating who they were walking for and messages with reminders that no one is alone. Active Minds played a slideshow in Forum III of submitted photos from loved ones who lost someone to suicide.
Daniel Deckard, a junior accounting major, said he was walking for his good friend who died from suicide in 2018.
Deckard said the walk means something different to everyone, but to him the event was a time to remember and reflect the good times he had with his friend.
“I think anything that helps not only me but other people spread awareness for suicide prevention I think is good,” Deckard said. “Hope we can do more of these in the future.”
Kaelyn Moreno, outreach coordinator of Active Minds, said “We try to reach out to people to students, so they know that they’re valuable and that we care about them.”
Moreno said she walks for someone and to remind students that they are valuable.
She said she encourages people to reach out for help and to have conversations with your friends about mental health.
“We can help,” Moreno said. “We just have to listen.”
Brianna Stone, president of Active Minds, opened the event at the Griffin Center with a few words. She said even though the memory walk was planned before the recent deaths of university students, the losses have created a conversation on campus about mental health.
“You’re talking about your mental health,” Stone said. “Most administration is talking about what they can do to help support their students.”
Stone said her advice is to listen. “Listen to your peers, ask people how they’re doing, and then ask them how they are really doing.”
“We are a safe space for anyone and everyone,” Stone said.
Active Minds handed out suicide prevention resources from the university and the community.
Students who need support can contact the Counseling and Psychological services at (812)464-1867 or the Dean of Students Office at (812)464-1867. The national suicide hotline is 800-273-TALK (8255). For more resources click here.
Active Minds plans to host another memory walk Spring 2022.
“Arguably the most important advice I share is to just smile and be kind,” Stone said. “Because you never know what someone’s going through and just a little bit of kindness can go a long, long way.”