Prevent, advocate and care

Flags planted for suicide awareness

By Ashley Rodriguez
On September 20, 2019

Photo by Cora Bishoppetty: Flags fill the lawn of the Houston Harte University Center to help spread awareness on suicide prevention.

Active Minds and counseling services on Sept. 10 held the second annual Flag Down Suicide event to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day.

The two organizations placed 11,000 blue and gold flags on the lawn of the Houston Harte University Center. The flags repre­sented the average number of college students who lose their lives to suicide annually, said Active Minds president Jaimee Hall. Blank, white flags were also available to students and faculty to place in remembrance of a friend or family member.

“The 400 white flags are for students here who want to dedi­cate a flag to someone they might have lost,” Hall said. “Angelo State has had a long history of no suicides on campus, but it’s not the case elsewhere.”

Active Minds seeks to change the conversation about men­tal health, Hall said.

“We want people to feel comfortable and open talking about their own mental health and feel more comfortable supporting our peers who may be struggling with mental health,” she said. “Our or­ganization is welcome to anyone and all majors. We are just a group of students who just want to support our peers.”

The organization often works with counseling services to raise awareness about mental health on campus.

Mark Rehm, director of counseling services, discussed the various options for students to take advantage of if they are experi­encing depression or suicidal ideation.

“We offer individual counseling if you are experiencing any depression or suicidal thoughts,” Rehm said. “We also have group counseling, which may not be targeted specifically to suicidal thoughts, but we will work with you.”

Rehm also made mention of the ASU Crisis Help Line, which is available 24/7 for students at 325-486-6345.

“We are here to provide support and teach techniques and coping skills for when you are having suicidal thoughts, so you don't make a choice that is long-term,” Rehm said. “We are all about training, preventing and educating.”

Counseling services also offers a suicide prevention train­ing program called QPR —question, persuade and refer — which demonstrates the warning signs of suicide and how to prevent it. They also hold a workshop where they teach students how to ap­proach and help a friend experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Another outside source available if you know of someone who is facing suicidal thoughts is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available at 1-800-273-8255.

Don’t hesitate to help protect someone’s life or let others know that their life is valuable.

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